2016 Volunteer Week Profile - Bob

“[There’s nothing like] the feeling that you get when you recognize that someone just had an ‘a-ha’ moment. Then they walk out and you find out later on that they’re using that skill.” — Bob

The first step in walking the path to self-sufficiency through a career in manufacturing is making a strong impression with potential employers. But about 40-50% of the trainees in JARC’s program have never done a standard job interview. Many believe that they only need to pass a technical screening, but this is untrue. Future welders and CNC machinists also need to master soft skills, such as conversation and professional etiquette. That’s where Bob comes in.

Bob, a retired executive recruiter, has been volunteering with JARC for over four years, focusing on employment services for the past year. He has manufacturing experience—specifically in packaging and machinery– so he understands JARC’s mission, particularly the growing deficit of candidates in the field. He initially found out about JARC through Idealist.org and, more recently, found out about specific needs for mock interviews and resume critiques through Volunteer Match. He knew Ravenswood well as he used to work in the neighborhood and was eager to return.

Each meeting means starting from scratch. In the beginning, Bob takes the time to review with trainees what interviewing is all about. Then, he helps each trainee polish his or her resume. This process allows trainees to hone in on how their prior experience connects to a career path in manufacturing. Finally, a few weeks later, he’ll schedule a mock interview. Once trainees are on the job market, he checks in regularly with JARC’s employment coach on status of their searches: Are they using the tips and tricks we discussed? Did they get a job?

Some trainees are anxious about the process, especially when facing interviews at multiple companies, but Bob is adept at putting worried minds at ease. “[This one particular trainee] was very nervous because he had all these strikes against him. Then I said to him, don’t always think that the interviewees are the people who should be nervous. Nine out of ten times the employers are nervous too and hate the process. I just try to make it as easy as possible for the person doing the interview,” Bob says.

Bob brings a wealth of experience to JARC, experience that contributes to his effectiveness as an employment services volunteer. Before retirement, he recruited both entry and mid-level employees, so he is very aware of the types of interview questions that are important to help trainees prepare for interviews. He is happy to have found an outlet to pass on this knowledge in JARC: “I feel like the experience I‘ve gained [throughout my life and multiple careers], I’m passing it along to the JARC candidates before it disappears.”

And Bob‘s advice for trainees- or anyone- embarking on the job search? “Prepare as much as possible, know the company, know the skills, be prepared.”