Refugees Team Up with Young Presidents Organization

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Learn How to Nail an Interview

Refugees fleeing persecution in their native lands turn to Catholic Charities to rebuild their lives. Here they find services that empower and enable them to support their families. For a glimpse behind the scenes, check out this blog by our Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Volunteer Coordinator, Nadia Huffer.

By Nadia Huffer

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Volunteer Coordinator


On the rainy morning of May 5th, 2017, a group of refugee and immigrant students – clients of the Immigration & Refugee Services Division at Catholic Charities along with agency volunteers, staff, and members of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) volunteer group came together to conduct a Mock Interview round-robin at the Lotte Palace Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

YPO is a global network of chief executives who convene regularly for networking events and conferences. As part of these worldwide events, the YPO members also gather and engage in charity projects that help underserved populations in the cities where they meet.

Former Vietnamese Refugee Gives Back

YPO approached the Refugee Resettlement Department of Catholic Charities wanting to do a project that would help refugees. A member of YPO, Ms. Soon Hagerty, is a refugee herself who fled Vietnam with her family when she was a child. Ms. Hagerty wanted to show support for the most vulnerable members of New York City’s immigrant community.

Mock Interview Day

With assistance from the YPO events team, the Mock Interview day went beautifully. YPO and Catholic Charities staff opened the event with a short introduction and briefing on Catholic Charities’ work to support refugees and then the interviewing began.

Volunteers conducted practice interviews with refugees and immigrants, assuming the role of hiring managers for positions the job-seekers might apply to. Each round of interviews was followed by a feedback session, in which the volunteers gave the interviewees tips on their professional appearance, demeanor, the content of their responses, and even their resumes.

Volunteers Inspired & Moved

After two rounds of practice interviews, the group reconvened and the YPO volunteers shared constructive feedback for the interviewees, as well as some inspiring words of encouragement. The YPO volunteers were equally inspired by the resilience and determination of the refugee job seekers.

Confidence Gained to Ace Real Interviews

The refugees and immigrants from Catholic Charities, most of whom are currently learning English, showed great courage in attending this event and their efforts certainly paid off! They got great practice, and above all, an added boost of confidence that will help them ace their next interviews.