Which Questions to Ask in an Interview

Job hunting can be difficult. In fact, when some people get an interview, they find themselves nervous instead of excited. That’s because interviewing takes practice, and when you don’t know what to expect, the experience can be intimidating. Although it’s completely normal to have anxiety even if you are completely prepared.

We previously put together some tips on how to have an impressive phone interview, and many of those tips apply to in person interviews, too. That’s why we’ll be focusing on the questions you can ask to get the information you need to succeed.

When to Ask Questions

During a typical interview, the interviewer will ask you a series of questions that they expect you to answer. Once they’re done asking, most interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. Generally speaking, they are hoping you have some questions because it shows you are really interested in the role.

If you’re in an interview that doesn’t ask you for feedback, it’s okay to politely say, “I have a few questions about the position. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering them for me.”

In most cases, your interviewer will gladly answer any questions you have. If they aren’t willing, the job might not be the right fit for you.

Which Questions to Avoid

Although it’s good to ask questions during your interview, there are some questions that you shouldn’t bring up. Try to avoid topics like:

  • Salary or pay
  • Timelines for promotions or raises
  • Requests for special accommodations

These topics are important, and you should ask about them, but you shouldn’t do that until a job offer is on the table or being discussed. Then you can begin negotiating specifics, which is a normal part of the hiring process.

Which Questions to Ask

When you prepare for your interview, you might want to write down a few questions that are on your mind. That way, when you’re at the interview, you’ll come prepared with at least two questions that you can ask.

Here are some example questions to help give you ideas:

  • What is your company’s culture like?
  • Can you go into a little more depth about what a typical day in this role would look like?
  • What do you expect your new hire to accomplish in the first six months?
  • Why is the position empty?
  • When should I expect to hear back from you about this interview?

Remember to also bring a notebook with you so you can write down any questions that come up while you’re talking. 

The BCVision team is dedicated to developing the workforce in the Battle Creek community. We are happy to provide assistance and resources, whether you’re looking or applying for a job, in the process of interviewing for a job, or want to further your education to move up in your career. Reach out to our partners, like Michigan Works! Southwest for the next step in your career, or contact us for more information. Make sure to also check out our blogs about how to write an impactful resume and cover letter for more information.


When to Start Looking at Colleges

We know that college isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in pursuing a higher education, it can be hard to decide when is the right time to start looking at colleges to attend.

Our team wants you to feel prepared as you begin your college exploration, so we’ve put together some tips on when to start looking into higher education and what your next steps should be.

Getting Started

Most high school students take the SATs during their junior year. Even if you aren’t a junior, it might be worth thinking about where you want to go. If you’re not sure what your first step should be, try reaching out to your guidance counselors, an advisor, or career coach to help get you started.

If college sounds like the right fit for you, you might want to start asking the people in your life where they went to school. You’ll probably get a wide range of suggestions, from large universities to local community colleges like our own Kellogg Community College. Be sure to ask your family and friends if they have any advice from their own search and experiences too! That can help you if you need help finding a good place to start.

If you’re a junior or have already graduated, that’s okay! It’s never too late to start exploring a college or university education as an option. If you’ve been out of high school for a few years, you may qualify as a non-traditional student, which could even mean that you qualify for additional grants or scholarships, too.

What to Look For

Once you have a few colleges you’re interested in it might be time to start looking for key factors that can contribute to your success. If a college or university catches your eye, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this college or university offer a degree that I would like to pursue?
  • What are the admission requirements, including required test scores, essays, and application fees?
  • How expensive is tuition at this college or university?
  • Does this college or university offer financial aid? What about scholarships?
  • Will I feel welcomed and inspired at this college or university?

If you find that the answers to these questions match your expectations, or if you can’t find enough information to know the answers, you might want to arrange a college tour. That way you can explore the grounds and talk one-on-one with someone who can answer your questions directly.

Start Preparing

If you find a college that you want to attend, it’s time to start preparing. Ask around at your school to find out if there are any scholarship opportunities that you could apply for. You can also typically find scholarship contests online that offer small but useful boosts to your education fund. Check out BCCF and BCCAN for great resources for local available scholarship opportunities.

Some universities may require letters of reference. If you’re thinking of attending college, it’s never too early to start asking people in your network for letters. Check out our blog on how to get started.

Remember that everyone’s educational experience is different. It isn’t a race to the finish, so keep your head up and do your best. After all, every step you take to further your education can help you change your future for the better.

The BCVision team is dedicated to fostering talent development in Battle Creek. We are happy to provide assistance and resources for you throughout your college application experience and into your career. Contact us for more information.

Writing New Year’s Resolutions that Last

Welcome to 2020! Every new year brings the opportunity to start new habits and reach new heights. This year, we want to help you create New Year’s resolutions that can have a positive impact on you and your community.

The hardest part of starting new habits or breaking old ones is dedication. That’s why we’re giving you some tips on how to stick to your new goals all year round.

Write Great Resolutions

A lot of people write resolutions that are either very general or too ambitious. When you come up with your new goals, make sure to make them measurable and realistic.

What do we mean? Instead of deciding your goal is to “give back to the community,” try making your goal something like, “Volunteer at least four times this year.” When you do that, you set yourself a specific goal and a time frame. Once you volunteer once, you’re motivated to do it again to achieve, or exceed, your goal. It’s within reach!

When you’re choosing your resolution, make sure that the goal isn’t too hard. If you already volunteer twice a year, for example, giving yourself a goal of four times this year is achievable and reasonable. If you pick up trash every other Saturday, try doing it every week. One step up is always the best way to go.

Stay Motivated

When you have specific goals, it is far easier to stay motivated. It can still be discouraging when you haven’t made any progress after a few months in the year.

If that’s the case, try this: break the year into four sections. Those are January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. During each one of those quarters, make sure to accomplish one thing that gets you closer to achieving your resolution.

If you’re following our volunteer example and you want to volunteer four times this year, you can volunteer once during each of those three-month periods. That way, you don’t feel overwhelmed. Break it down into smaller, bite-sized chunks.

Need Ideas?

Some of the best New Year’s resolutions are the ones that help out your community. If you’re stuck on what to do this year, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Are there any local nonprofits I’d like to help out?
  • How can I help the people I see every day?
  • How can I help to make my neighborhood better?
  • What is a small way that I can make the people around me happy?
  • What is a big need in my community?
  • What is a cause that I’m passionate about?
  • Who can I collaborate with to create impactful change?

Hopefully just reading those questions sparked some ideas for you. If you’re still stumped, fill out our volunteer form. We’d love to talk to you about how you can help us make the Battle Creek community a place where everyone can live, work and play.

2019 Year in Review

Our incredible community and partners have helped us make 2019 a fantastic year. The BCVision team has been hard at work, along with community members, to create lasting and visible change in Battle Creek.

Our goal is to make our community a place where everyone can live, work, and play. That’s why we work to create a thriving Battle Creek with equitable opportunity for income, education, and resources for all.

Our community-driven work focuses on:

  • Culture of Vitality
  • Jobs
  • Talent Development

This year, some or our community’s notable achievements include, but are not limited to:

  • Recognizing the unsung difference makers in our community
  • Creating the Community Loan & Grant Fund through the Small Business Action Team
  • Winning a 2019 All-America City Award
  • Celebrating the 41st annual International SummerFest
  • Honoring our community by having the All-America City Award Celebration
  • Establishing a GED Taskforce to combat the education gap in our community
  • Nurturing youth through the MyCityBC Internship Program

Learn more about the programs, incentives, and more of the great Battle Creek news from 2019 by clicking here.

Meet Priscila Dieguez

Priscila Dieguez is a Career Coach for Workforce Solutions at Kellogg Community College. She coaches students in the Innovative Accelerated Credentialed Training (iACT) program. iACT offers free accelerated training to prepare adults for the workforce in the manufacturing and nursing fields.

Priscila is a licensed mental health therapist and has worked in the field for over 20 years. Prior to being a career coach, she worked with senior citizens to help them get the resources they needed. Priscila says the career coach role is totally different, but she likes it because it’s hands-on. Plus, she can really connect to the students.

A Culture of Vitality

As a career coach for iACT, Priscila recruits students for the program. She also supports and provides resources to them while they are in the program and follows up with them after graduation to see how they are utilizing their training.

The coaches also try to help remove barriers for students so that they can focus on their studies and receive their certification from the program. From food assistance to transportation, the career coaches try to do what they can to help the students succeed.

Priscila believes this program is a way to really invest in people in the community. Students are trained to have the skills they need to be hired locally. This contributes to the overall success of Battle Creek businesses and our community.

Priscila also says the program is a way for students to invest in themselves. It is a stepping stone that opens doors and gives students an opportunity to shape their own future.

In addition to the job training, iACT includes a resume building and interview skills course. The program then helps connect students to employers to get job opportunities. iACT even provides students with professional clothing for interviews if it’s needed.

Keeping the Momentum Going

Priscila hopes the grant-funded program will continue, and she wants to keep helping students believe in themselves.

The students earn college credit in the iACT program and after graduation, some continue in their pursuit of furthering their education.

“The other day, we were on the main campus and I saw one of the girls [from the program] and she’s continuing to study nursing. She was going to class and we stopped to chat, and she said, ‘Thank you for everything because now I have a great foundation for my classes,’” Priscila said.

The Best Part

Priscila loves to see the progress the students make over the course of the program. She says some students come into the program timid and unsure of themselves. According to Priscila, the best part is “giving them the opportunity and seeing them kind of blossom…assisting them not only academically, but also giving them the emotional support that they need.” Her biggest reward is knowing she is making a difference in people’s lives.

Priscila is originally from Argentina and has lived in Battle Creek for thirteen years. She said the best part about Battle Creek is that it’s a caring community that is made up of so many nationalities. Even though she wasn’t born and raised here, she says she doesn’t feel like an outsider and feels like she belongs.

Click here to apply to the iACT program.

Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Learn more about how to nominate someone today. Make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Cherise Buchanan, Chris Jones, and so many more!