Going through with the Interviews

Teachers, Students and Interviewers alike prepare for the upcoming Mock Job Interviews.

Thomas Begley, Staff Writer

Glued to her computer, freshman Ella Ariza searches the internet for tips on how to impress a potential employer.  She is preparing to blow away her interviewer. From making good eye contact to dressing for success, Ariza is ready for the real deal.

Every semester, students enrolled in speech, forensics or debate classes have to go through the Mock Job Interview process, a simulated, graded interview that took place Apr. 13-15 this year. It is a course requirement for the Oral Communications graduation credit.

For the interviews, students are graded on their verbal and nonverbal performance, their ability to answer questions on the spot, and how presentable their resumes and applications appear.

By the end of the unit, students meet up with either payback partners, retired teachers, or other professionals whose jobs require them to interview on a normal basis. From there, they go about the interview like they would a real one. 

Students enrolled in these classes go over a variety of skills including the importance of being attentive, when to use small talk, and answering questions thoroughly. 

Junior Emeline Burton, who has already gone through the interview process for part-time jobs, said the curriculum was very applicable to real-world experiences.

“Overall, this unit has been a really good refresher and it’s been nice building on interview preparation skills that I’ve previously used,” Burton said.

In years past, students would get called out of class to meet their interviewer in the lecture halls. They would dress appropriately, style their hair, and act the most professional they could.

This year, however, has been very different. Instead of meeting the interviewers face to face in the lecture halls, they plan to meet on Zoom in order to follow COVID-19 guidelines. While teachers would prefer for students to dress up, they are not required to.

Forensics teacher Sabrina Denney Bull believes there are certain benefits to interviewing online.

“The upside is that it will prepare them for a remote interview, something they very well might face in the future,” Denney Bull said. 

Experiencing this through screen, however, also has its drawbacks.

“The downside is that we cannot practice all the skills we teach when it is remote such as handshakes. And there is a big benefit for the students to have to sit across from an adult and experience that in-person nervous energy.”

Students are doing their best to practice and prepare for the assessment given the less than normal circumstances. 

“In preparation for the mock job interview, I have practiced with my parents and watched YouTube videos for ideas on how to impress the interviewer,” Ariza said.

While it’s a very different way of going about with the interviews, students eventually need to learn how to properly present themselves in these real life situations. 

“This essential life skill still needs to be taught,” Denney Bull said. “We are grateful we have a safe way to do it.”