Inside mock job interviews

Students receive real world interview experience through in-person discussions


Photo by Riley Kramolisch

Conversing with a volunteer during her district-required mock job interview, freshman Evalinn Eisel answers the questions given about the fictional job she applied for. Approaching the interview, Eisel came well prepared with the essentials for each interview: her job application, resume and reference sheet. “Overall I think I did pretty well because I was given good feedback,” Eisel said. “I felt it was pretty easy to answer the questions and follow along.”

Samantha Vojslavek, Features Editor

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Speech and Debate students assembled in the library to complete a graduation requirement that the district assigns each year: mock job interviews. Occurring four times a year, mock job interviews help prepare students for actual interviews they will face as they apply for jobs in the future. 

Each interview involves about a 12-minute interaction between adult volunteers with interview experience and a student enrolled in one of the oral communication classes. A few weeks before the day of the actual interviews, students receive items they must complete upon set deadlines. Filling out a reference sheet, building their personal resumes and developing an application are all activities students must finalize as part of their grade for the project. Freshman Evalinn Eisel was one of many students able to partake in this major task this semester. 

“My thoughts going into this were pretty mixed with nervousness and excitement,” Eisel said. “I think I was well prepared for a real interview because my interviewer asked good questions that I felt I would be confident in answering in an actual interview.” 

When the big day rolls around, students are encouraged to follow a professional dress code and arrive five minutes early to their interview. As each interview is underway, volunteers commence their personal assignments to complete. Speech and Debate teachers provide a list of questions for the volunteers to ask each student along with a full review of their resume and the application that students bring with them. This year being her seventh year volunteering for Millard West, Laura Wakefield, manager of Employee Relations and Development at UNO interacted with around five interviewees during every block. 

“I like to ask open-ended questions, rather than just questions with yes/no answers, so that they share more and I get to know them better,” Wakefield said. “The best part, if all goes well, is when I tell them that they are hired.”

Speech teacher Jennifer Jerome serves a primary role in every students’ success. In her classes, Jerome sets these interviews as 35% of her students’ overall grade for the course. Always having a desire to see everyone succeed, Jerome provides advice in hopes she can prepare students as much as possible. 

“My expectations for my students are to simply try their hardest to follow directions given,” Jerome said. “Everyone has to interview for a job at some point in their lives, and students could possibly have scholarship and college entrance interviews through this so there’s so many benefits to this.”

After the completion of their interviews, each student hand-writes a thank you note to send to the volunteer that ran their mock job interview. Walking out of their interviews with a sigh of relief, students are filled with knowledge they can apply to upcoming interviews as soon as they enter the world of work.