Posted by raherschbach on 14 Feb 2017

When learning how to be an effective interviewer or presenter, it can sometimes be helpful to think out of the box.

At Capitol, students are sharpening their interview skills through -- among other things -- exploring the art of improv theater. A workshop being offered at the university's upcoming Career Conference will provide training and practice in techinques that improv actors use to overcome inhibitions and build rapport with an audience.

Often, the same techniques can help foster better communication during interviews and other business situations, such as meeting with clients or giving presentations.

Samantha Van Sant, who is pursuing a theater vocation while also serving as Capitol’s associate director of admissions, will be leading the workshop.

“It’s designed to help the students with interviews, in terms of spontaneity and flexibility in what they’re saying and how they’re responding to what they’re seeing," explained Van Sant, who has trained with the Baltimore Improv Group and currently works with an independent troupe, Topiary, that performs around Maryland and Pennsylvania.“It’s important to have the ability to carry on a conversation on the spot,” Van Sant said.

“Students often walk into interviews with a certain paragraph or dialogue memorized in their head, ready to go – but interviews don’t always go like that,” she said.

The improv workshop is one of several being offered as part of the Career Conference, which takes place on the Capitol campus on February 17th. Other sessions will cover such topics as body language and meeting preparation.

More than 25 area employers, including the CIA, the National Security Agency and Orbital ATK, will be sending representatives to the job fair portion of the conference.

“We require all of our students to attend, and we require all our students to be dressed appropriately,” Associate Director of Career Services Sarah Alspaw said of the event. “It’s good for employers because if you’re looking for qualified candidates, you’ll find them. You’re not going to show up and have two hours of no one to talk to. You’ll be meeting with students who are actively seeking internships and full-time opportunities.”

The conference is part of a year-round career mentoring program that includes interview practice, resume reviews, coaching by Career Services personnel, seminars on business etiquette, and other career preparation activities. For more information, contact Career Services at

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