Ten Questions to Ask When Interviewing your Workplace Mentor

In our School-to-Career program, we encourage our students to interview a key person at work. Students tell us that this experience is one of the highlights of their summer experience. Whether you are on an internship or just starting your first job, interviewing a mentor can be a very beneficial exercise.

                                    How do you define success?

              What are 3 characteristics you think are necessary for success?

We have found that the answer to these questions lead to the biggest surprises.  Students are surprised to learn that rather than mentioning monetary success, mentors often speak about  success in terms of their volunteer work in the community or their family life at home.

10 questions that our students have found helpful when interviewing their mentors:

1. How did you decide to work in this field?


2. What or who influenced you in this career direction?


3. Does your work require special training? If so, what kind and how much?


4. Is this your first and only career? If not, what else have you done?


5. How do you define success? What are 3 characteristics you think are necessary for success?


6. Tell me about a career high point and a career low point.


7. Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field?


8. What course of study do you recommend in college?


9. Do you have any professional role models?


10. What changes do you foresee happening in this profession?



What To Wear: Fashion Dos And Don’ts For Your Summer Internship

Dear students,

Many of you have asked me about how to dress professionally for work and my suggestion is to dress as professionally as possible, especially for the first day. Once you begin, you will be able to pick up clues from your co-workers. That being said, if someone is wearing flip flops, a top with their midriff showing, or torn jeans, that does not mean that you should too!

I have had several interns at a fantastic company called Wayfair where business casual is welcomed. The Director of Recruitment once told me that as the summer goes on, they notice that some of their full time employees’ mode of dress tends to get more and more casual (inappropriate shorts, T-shirts and flip flops) He mentioned that the executives in the company take note of this and not in a good way.

For some of you working in a start-up environment, you may pick up cues from your office mates. Startup workplaces may be much more casual.

Summer attire Dos and Don’ts

Experts offer the following guidelines for business casual dress:


– Khakis
– Dark dress jeans may be ok but consult with your mentor.
– Low heeled shoes. Sandals are fine but not flip-flops.
– Polo shirts
– Tailored jackets
– Blouses
– Skirts, not too short.
– Sundresses are OK but wear with a cardigan sweater


– Flip-flops
– Shorts
– Wrinkled clothing
– Clothes that are too tight, too loose or low cut.
– Torn jeans

10 Tips For Teens To Prepare For An Interview

Job interviews are infamously anxiety-inducing, particularly when you haven’t ever experienced one before. The good news is that basic preparation goes a long way toward quelling those inevitable nerves.

10 Tips For Approaching Your Interviews

Here are 10 tips for approaching interviews so you can be sure you’re best conveying your strengths and charms when it matters.

(1) Read up on the company.

Research the business you’re applying to on its website so you can directly relate your own interests and skills to its mission.

(2) Have another set of eyes proofread your application.

You may think your application is concise and flawlessly constructed. It’s tough, though, to spot even glaring spelling or grammatical errors in our own work, especially if we’ve been slaving over it endlessly. Have somebody else proof the materials so silly mistakes don’t slip through.

(3) Role-play. 

Don’t just tremble at what you imagine an interview will be like—rehearse! No, you don’t know exactly what an interviewer will ask, but it’s easy to brainstorm a list of sample questions. Have somebody assume the role of your questioner and do several dry runs so you can practice your presentation and bearing.

(4) Plan a “business casual” outfit.

Appearance matters: You want your interview outfit to reflect your professionalism and suggest the diligence with which you’ll approach the job. Dress conservatively and smartly; don’t try to impress with bold fashion statements.

(5) Arrive early.

Come to the interview 15 minutes early: Punctuality shows organization and commitment. Don’t forget to turn off that cell phone: You don’t want a blaring ringer abruptly ruining your first impression.

(6) Send the right signals.

You may be saying all the right things, but if your body language is off you may be sabotaging yourself. Maintain direct eye contact and don’t give a limp handshake. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward, which project confidence and engagement. And remember to smile!

(7) Demonstrate your preparation.

Mention the research you’ve done on the company: Specifically cite a few details from the website (or whatever other materials you perused) and how they resonated with you.

(8) Be ready with questions.

Your interviewer will likely conclude by turning the tables and asking whether you have any questions. Don’t make the mistake of saying, “Nope!” Have some queries—about the company or the position, say—ready in advance.

(9) Inquire about the next step.

If it’s obvious that the interview is indeed winding down, highlight your initiative—and prove you really want the position—by inquiring about next steps. Ask, for example, about the hiring committee’s decision-making timeframe and whether you can provide any more details.

(10) Follow up.

Send a thank-you email after the interview, and again offer to supply any further information about yourself.

If you do your homework and rehearse a few times before an interview, you’ll likely discover on the morning of the big day that you’ve actually developed some well-earned self-confidence: You know your material and you’re ready to put your best foot forward. And that’s a great feeling!

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