Wednesday, February 4th happened to be one of those bright and beautiful peachy keen days; everything seemed to fall into place and sure enough it did, with 3 unique celebrations. The first being the receipt of our long awaited Toastmasters Malaga banner. We’re all so thrilled to finally have it in our possession and can now proudly show it off to the world! The second celebration was glowing Gloria’s 40th birthday and not only did she glow but her smile was ear to ear! Last but not least we had a full conference room packed with fellow Toastmasters, and students from the vocational institute, IES Campanillas who currently study (Ciclos Formativos de Grado Superior “Desarrollo de Aplicaciones Web”. Furthermore, we also had honorable guests; among them, Dirk of German nationality, well versed in entrepreneurship, and Gabriel, a prior Toastmaster Malaga Club member who we hadn’t seen in quite some time. It’s such a pleasant surprise when ex-members pop in without notice. As you can imagine the ambience was radiating with positive energy throughout.
The topic chosen for the session was THE INTERVIEW with helpful tips and techniques for future interviewees and interviewers alike. The meeting started off right on time with Claudia, President of Toastmasters Malaga Club, being the Toastmaster of the Day. She enthusiastically gave the audience a warm welcome and a brief overview of what she’d be sharing. She then introduced all her team members one by one as is customary in Toastmasters and asked each to give a brief explanation of their meeting role.
First, we had our delightful Ana as Grammarian who encouraged the audience to use the word of the day “experience” in all speech interventions, followed by our acute listener Jette, as the Aha and Ums counter and our ever so happy-go-lucky Daniel as our timer. Moving on we had our detail oriented and witty Javier as our Body Language Evaluator and lastly, Gabriel, who at the spur of the moment was chosen to be the General Evaluator and gladly accepted knowing he could be a bit rusty since he hadn’t been to a meeting in over one year.
Upon completion of everyones introductions Claudia proceeded in giving the audience critical information on interviewing. She first launched a very specific question and asked if anyone knew the biggest mistake made by interviewees. There were six show of hands and of the 6, Dirik, who was the last to speak, got the correct answer. He said LACK OF PREPARATION and he was absolutely right. It’s vital for interviewees to research the company offering the job and to try to extract as much information as possible. In doing so they can see, depending on the job position available, what the company’s needs and wants are. This gives the interviewee firsthand insight as to what possible questions might be asked. Interviewees should extrapolate and formulate possible questions and answers in order to practice and plan before the “real” interview. She also suggested they Google themselves to see what companies might see in their profile and alerted them to be careful with their posts. She also suggested they interview themselves in the mirror and ask themselves questions such as: Why should I hire myself? What can I offer myself? What can I tell me about myself? These were among the few tips given. There is absolutely no excuse anymore for not being prepared since the Internet is literally at everyones fingertips and is loaded with a wealth of information.
After giving a few pointers it was time to move on to the quote/poem/reading of the day. Ana beautifully read an insightful poem titled “Allow Yourself” by Catherine Pulsifer. We then moved on to Table Topics were Claudia had everyone imagine they were being transported to a Job and Career Fair in Madrid. At this time she introduced Mr. John Smith (aka TM Sergio Banderas, teacher at IES Campanillas) of the fictitious World Wide Multi-Job Corporation headquartered in the USA. Mr. John Smith’s mission was to select 7 potential candidates for the aforementioned 7 job offers his company was recruiting. He had openings for a Project Manager, Software Developer, Office Manager, Customer Service Representative, Administrative Assistant, Teacher, and Social Media Coordinator. Mr. John Smith called upon 7 potential candidates and conducted a mock interview with each of them. They were given several questions and had to answer them to the best of their ability. Keep in mind these were all Vocational students with very little English fluency so the challenge was a HUGE one. These students who participated in the mock interview were actually granted internships in Germany where they will have to speak in English so this exercise and activity was a real eye-opener for them. I must say it took a lot of courage on their part to stand up in front of an audience of 50+. The activity ended with a huge round of applause and praise to the students.
Claudia continued giving a bit more advice on interviewing and then took a break to introduce the prepared speech activity. Gloria Garcia Ordoñez, the birthday girl, was about to give her second speech from the Advanced Manual: The entertaining speaker titled “Time goes by”. Soon after finishing her flawless and engaging speech we sang to her and proceeded to follow-up with the written speech evaluations. As a warm up to the Speech Evaluation contest, which is drawing near, we decided to have two members give her an oral evaluation. This, of course, is a real luxury for any Toastmaster. In this unique case we had two “Jorge’s”, Jorge Carrasco and Jorge Arenillas who both gave a brilliant constructive evaluation.
We then moved on to THE DEBATE activity were we had two eager volunteers, Dirk and Alberto, discuss the pros and cons of hiring an overqualified candidate. It wasn’t easy but both managed to defend their sides with very good arguments, however, Alberto got a bit carried away and used Ronaldo as an example which made the debate ever so humorous.
Claudia then ended her interview presentation summarizing 10 golden rules for being better prepared before an interview and then made way for an Information Exchange activity. We had two people, namely Dirk and Jorge C. give us first-hand information on their personal job and interviewing experiences. They both offered insightful information targeting mainly the students and also gave constructive feedback regarding the topic and theme chosen for the session.
So for a perfect end, the meeting started to wind down as those with roles gave their constructive reports and feedback to all those who had actively participated in the session and lastly with Gabriel giving a fantastic general evaluation of the entire session.
I believe the meeting sparked everyones attention, especially those who had never been on an interview before and now have a better understanding of just how truly important it is to be prepared for the interview process. A big thank you to each and every attendee for their time and participation.
Claudia Villarreal (Toastmasters Malaga Club President)