PSC Students learn interviewing techniques during annual Etiquette Dinner


Pictured (left forefront, clockwise around table): Students SanQuan Long (hospitality, Washington, D.C.); Keenan Westry (general studies, Washington, D.C.); Lyndasia Jones (business administration, New Castle, Del.); Virginia Kline (PSC Librarian); Jessie Kesner (psychology, Ft. Ashby, W.Va.); Darien Robinson (mechanical engineering, Baltimore, Md.); and Detria Lewis (general studies, Antioch, W.Va.); are just a few of the students who attended the annual Etiquette Dinner recently at the College.  

Two alumni and a former instructor in office systems technology recently returned to the College to volunteer their time and services to assist students in perfecting their interviewing skills. Nineteen students took part in the annual Etiquette Dinner, sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Office of Student Affairs at Potomac State.

Students were taught proper etiquette procedures to follow when interviewing for a job over lunch or dinner. A few of the items discussed include: the correct placement of a name tag (the right side), which fork to use and when, and how to properly place their napkin should they excuse themselves but aren’t finished eating. Faculty Emerita Dinah Courrier presented this segment of the program.

Presenting the interviewing segment was Heather Ack (Class of 1995), who currently serves as the Regional Human Resources Manager and Regional Talent Management Director at Orbital ATK. She mentioned to the students that even though business casual has become popular in the workplace, most employers still expect candidates to dress more formal for interviews. According to Ack, “The job market is extremely competitive. Students can no longer rely solely on their degree to secure employment. Participation in internships and professional organizations within their field of study are key components to building a healthy resume.” Ack also reminded students that they need to have an awareness of how their image—both in person and on social media—can impact their chances of securing employment.

Other factors mentioned are that it’s always appropriate to clarify dress expectations prior to an interview, “... but remember, guys, it’s never okay to wear athletic socks with dress shoes!”  As for social media, students need to be aware of how images they post to social networking sites could be interpreted by a potential employer.

Rounding out the program was Jacob McCarty (Class of 2002), a Senior Cybersecurity Engineer for TISTA Science and Technology Corporation. McCarty covered the importance of being mindful of your surroundings when interviewing on a cell phone or computer, citing that one should choose a quiet location and make sure that the cell phone and internet connections are strong. He also advised students to be aware of what’s in the background when they’re being interviewed via computer. “Another important thing to remember is that a potential employee should never overstate their qualifications; the interviewer will almost always realize at some point during the interview that the abilities of the person being interviewed have been exaggerated,” said McCarty. McCarty currently serves on the PSC Alumni Board of Directors.