Mock Interviewing Program enables veterans and military families to shine during job search

SARASOTA, FL – Through a new program at Goodwill Manasota, area veterans, and military families are being trained to prepare a resume and conduct a job interview while receiving a new outfit to help them stand out during the job hunt. The “Mock Interviewing Program,” which began in January, is a four-part monthly series that takes place on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program office (8490 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota).
A study by the Society of Human Resources Management asserted that a job candidate’s background and qualifications were far less influential in hiring decisions than interview performance and professionalism. Practice helps to reduce interview anxiety, improves interview skills and, in many cases, helps to provide important feedback about interview performance. It will also help to sharpen communication skills — poor communication skills were the number one turn-off for hiring managers, according to another Society of Human Resource Management study.
The schedule for the program is as follows each month: first Wednesday, “How to Maneuver through a Federal Application” (taught by a representative from the VA); second Wednesday, “Job Interview Training”; third Wednesday, “Resume Training”; fourth Wednesday, “Live Mock Interviews” (veterans will be provided with a business outfit from Goodwill).
Through its Veterans Services Program, Goodwill Manasota has worked to improve the education and wellness opportunities for veterans and military families, through case coordination and mentoring, since 2013. Recent efforts to enhance job-skills training with the coordination of local employers to conduct mock interviews have been beneficial and created new opportunities for our local heroes.
Kevin Henault, the owner of Veteran Air, was the first CEO to participate in the Mock Interviewing Program and was so impressed with the candidates he reviewed that he hired five candidates for his own company that same day. Henault – who served in the Army – comes from a long line of veterans.
“I appreciate that Goodwill works to help and employ veterans through its many programs and services,” said Henault. “Especially given my own family’s tradition of service, I’m honored to partner with Goodwill to help the veterans in our community. At the same time, I’ve benefited through some great hires for my company.”
Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program, which is staffed by veterans, offers access to employment preparation courses, educational and technical skills classes, and work resources, all aimed at helping veterans to find meaningful employment so that they may advance beyond their military careers and regain a sense of pride, dignity, and purpose. One-on-one guidance is provided, especially to those who have become disabled during their tour of duty. Program trainers match job seekers with job opportunities through targeted recruitment services and job fairs.
“Hiring veterans is not charity, it is an investment in our community,” said C.J. Bannister, director of Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program. “Millions of dollars are spent to train our armed forces personnel – they are lost assets if we do not find a way to repurpose those skills. Through innovative efforts like the Mock Interviewing Program, we are working to build confidence and make connections for veterans so that they can embark on new and fulfilling careers.”
For more information, call the Veterans Service Program office at (941) 355-2721, ext. 451.
PHOTO ID: Kevin Henault, owner of Veteran Air (third from left) with members of Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program team: Mike Marzella, Edwin Robinson, C.J. Bannister, Tremayne Freeman and Nick Bell
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit
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