When Breanna Bloor thinks back to job interviews after high school, she remembers her words stumbling, getting stuck somewhere between her mind and her tongue. She remembers not getting calls back. She remembers getting calls back for retail jobs that saw her standing around alone most of the day, looking out the window. That stuck feeling, it enveloped her.
And then, a former classmate told her about Employ! It’s a program hosted by Community Futures North Okanagan that’s designed to give young adults the employment skills they need to find and secure jobs suited to their strengths and interests.
In addition to learning how to research jobs and write a good resume, Bloor and her classmates learned how to shine in an interview. That training started with seeing the typical questions employers ask, and then practicing answering them.
When Bloor came out of the program, she found herself across the table from the manager of a local truss building company.
“A few questions in, he stopped.”
Bloor had answered the first few questions so well, he told her he didn’t need to continue with the rest. And she was hired.
It wasn’t just that she’d had the answers. She’d had confidence about delivering them. Within hours, Bloor was building wall frames and trusses at the plant.
“I liked how physical it was. I like physical labour work,” said Bloor. “They said I was catching on really well.”
But impending winter layoffs saw Bloor looking for work that would also be physical and long-term. She’d noticed the Total Restoration trucks around town, and then saw they were hiring.
Once again, 20-year-old Bloor was in a job interview, this time with two people at once.
“I was getting drilled with questions, but I just took some deep breaths and thought about it before answering.”
Again, Bloor had strong answers, and, even more, the composure to articulate them well. Soon she was wearing a Total Restoration t-shirt, helping to demo and clean homes that have been damaged by flooding or fire.
“It’s great because we’re at a different site every day. My coworkers are awesome and my boss cares a lot. The day we had that snowstorm, he texted us to make sure we all got home OK.”
When Bloor came back to Community Futures to say hello to Employ! facilitator Angie Fisher and tell her about her job at Total Restoration, “Angie was really excited and thought it was a good fit for me.”
That unwavering enthusiasm, said Bloor, is a critical part of how Employ! helped her succeed.
“I thought the facilitators were really great. They always make you feel like they want you to be there and they want you to do well. They’re very understanding people, but they have very high expectations for you, and that makes you have high expectations for yourself.”
They always make you feel like they want you to be there and they want you to do well.
Fisher said from the initial interview it was clear Bloor’s intention was to find meaningful work.
“Sometimes you can just tell when someone has the drive to work, and this was clearly Breanna,” said Fisher, adding working with young people who are driven and willing to put in the effort to find employment, do the research and practice the skills is an exciting journey to be part of and one of the highlights of her own job.
“Breanna has demonstrated focus, determination and a desire to be great. We really appreciate how Breanna stays connected with us and really feel she demonstrates how focus, determination and hard work are rewarded.”