Tips for Groundhog Shadow Hosts

Here are some ideas to help make your day as a job shadow host a success:

Keys for Job Shadows Hosts:

  • Keep in mind that your audience are 14-18 year old high school students. For many of them, this is their first introduction to the professional world beyond the classroom.
  • Students love the opportunity to be actively engaged in your work. If you can, provide opportunities for them to work on brainstorming activities, case studies, or something hands-on related to your business.
  • Students have prepared for this visit. Feel free to ask them what they know about your company and what they would like to know.
  • Emphasize the positive in your conversations but always be honest and straightforward – most of all – be yourself!
  • Have fun!


Ideas for structuring you day:


  1. Start the day with an orientation and introductions. Tell students a little about yourself and ask them some questions as well. Suggestions:
    • Briefly introduce yourself. Share what you were thinking about doing for a career when you were their age, and how your career path evolved. Teens want to know how you got from "here to there".
    • Describe your “typical” day and be prepared to field questions regarding salaries, promotions, schooling, etc.
    • Students have prepared for their visit. Feel free to ask questions or find out at least one thing each student would like to learn or see during the visit.
    • Ask students about their interests, experiences, and goals. They will appreciate your interest in them and it will foster a positive relationship for the day.
    • If possible, introduce your guests to co-workers and management.
Consider an icebreaker! Anything you can do to “break the ice”  helps  make the students feel welcome and at ease with you and your colleagues. Students will then be more likely to ask questions.
  1. Give a tour:
    • Give the students a tour of your office or business and explain the roles of each person to which they are introduced.
    • Try to interact with your co-workers on all levels to give the students a good overview of how your organization runs and the culture.
    • Give an overview of what your organization does and how it affects the local community.
  1. Suggested activities to engage students in activities related to your daily work:
    • Give the students a case study or do a brainstorming session related to a current issue your organization is dealing with.
    • Allow the students to do some limited, hands-on tasks (under supervision) and try to invoke conversation that will let the student participate.
    • Attend a meeting.
    • Have students listening in on a sales/client call or information request.
    • Have students research a particular topic that is relevant to your work.
    • Show off your computer programs and let the students drive.
    • Help student visitors learn as they observe. Don’t assume that they know. Use language that the student can understand and try to avoid technical jargon.
    • Stress the importance of promptness, attendance, appropriate personal appearance and attire and positive work ethic.  This helps reinforce the messages their schools are giving them.
    • Take the students to lunch – invite a co-worker to lunch along with the students.
  1. Some other ways to help you relate to students
    • Share obstacles you encountered and overcame, interesting turns and life situations you’ve encountered.
    • Explain how your work relates to classes they might be taking in school such as math, business, technology courses, etc.
    • Share any helpful advice that you wish you learned or things you had done in school to be more prepared for your career.
    • Share examples of your daily routine that incorporates skills they are learning such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, writing, etc.
    • Explain the important aspects of your work and how they relate to other jobs within the organization.
    • Talk about your career path and why you chose to pursue it or how you ended up where you are.
    • Explain what you like best/least about your job and/or career field.
    • What are your next steps and/or goals for your own career?

Keep in mind these are only suggested guidelines. Each job shadow experience is unique. Plan for a day that works for you and your organization.

Thank you to St. Marks, Southborough, MA for these great tips.