Tuesday, January 26, 2016

COBI HR students provide interview training for UT Residence Life professionals

Residence Life at The University of Toledo provides outstanding opportunities as they actively recruit high-energy, enthusiastic individuals to work as "live-In" professionals. When the Residence Life office sought assistance in preparing these RA’s for interviewing the next residence professionals, they turned to the on-campus HR experts in the College of Business and Innovation.

“Residence Life originally approached me to be the trainer,” explained Dr. Jenell Witmer, associate professor of management, whose area of specialty includes human resources, “but I proposed that our students actually conduct the training. They have the knowledge, the talent, and it was a great opportunity for them to really apply themselves, which is what the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is all about! Plus, training on a peer, student-to-student level always leads to great results!”

“Rachel M. Gosselin is the president of the UT SHRM Chapter and and Hala Abou-Dahech is the vice president. They are great leaders and were eager to step up and volunteer for these events!” Witmer said.

Rachel Gosselin, left, and Hala Abou-Dahech
“I thoroughly enjoyed this experience,” Gosselin said.  “I thought that it was a great learning experience not just for the RA's but for Hala and myself. The best part of the sessions was the involvement and response that we received from the RA's; they were engaged and asked good questions, and some of them said that it was beneficial and they enjoyed it, which was very rewarding.”

“I believe that we helped the RA’s to understand the gravity of conducting an interview and the impact that their actions have on the entire process. I believe that the information and pointers that we gave will not only help them with their jobs as Resident Advisors, but will help them in the future when they enter the professional world. The content was designed in a way that they have take-aways from the side of the interviewer as well as the interviewee.”

“The best part was having the opportunity to conduct a training I could possibly really have to do as an HR professional in the future,” Abou-Dahech said.  “A lot of what we learn in our classes is more theoretical since we are still students, but opportunities set up by our professors like this give us that real-world application. I felt like an actual HR professional working in training and development and teaching employees in my company about the ‘do's and don'ts’ in conducting interviews.”

“I think our lesson will help the RA’s avoid legal pitfalls as interviewers,” she continued. “It also taught them the best ways to structure an interview, from taking detailed notes to formulating behavior-based questions. Some RA's even applied the knowledge to their own lives and discussed times when they were the interviewee and were asked inappropriate or illegal questions. I know the RA's walked away with a lot of knowledge for both their current positions on campus and their future professional lives.”

Gosselin said, “This was helpful from a career standpoint because it gave me a chance to practice my public speaking, as well as the facilitation of a learning or training session, which is something that will be very prevalent in my chosen profession. The content that we covered are things that we learn in our HR classes, but Hala and I were each able to also pull from our internship opportunities where we learned these things first hand. This was very rewarding because we were able to utilize our ‘book learning’ as well as our ‘practical learning’ and see how the two overlap and support each other.”

Abou-Dahech added, “Any experience where I can practice my presentation skills is very beneficial. However more importantly, any opportunity I get to apply the knowledge I am receiving in my classes is the most beneficial. In fact, most of the presentation I could base on what I learned in my Legal Issues in HR course with Dr. Post and my general HR course with Dr. Wittmer.”

“This was the first opportunity of its kind,” Witmer said, “but, after speaking to Residence Life about the results and outcomes of the training, I know they will be looking to build on these types of events in the future! This is a great example of how our SHRM students are applying their expertise and passion to help improve the UT community!”


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