A taste of the real world

Students participate in the Mock Job Interview process to gain experience


Photo by Kaden Roth

Students participate in Mock Job Interviews in the library to complete their oral communications class. The interviews are led by volunteers from the community who shape the interview to mimic that of a real interview.“Speech interviews are a remarkable tool for students to get experience in interviewing for employment, scholarships, internships, etc,” volunteer Susan Hancock said. “It also helps students to complete applications and resumes, another life skill.”

Kaden Roth, Catalyst Online Editor-in-Chief

The library hosted the oral communication classes Mock Job Interview on April 27, which enables students to get first-hand experience with the interviewing process.

The event occurs routinely for students in either Speech or Debate classes and is a way to involve others within the community. The Mock Job Interviews have always been a part of the oral communications curriculum but have seen adjustments following a year of COVID-19 procedures.

“During the 2020-2021 school year, we were not allowed to bring guests into any MPS building,” Mock Job Interview coordinator and Speech teacher Jennifer Jerome said. “Therefore, we had to get creative with the Mock Job Interviews. After last year, we decided that we first liked having the day be Wednesday instead of Thursday. Then we decided we liked having them during each block instead of just first and second blocks. This helped in many ways; we didn’t have to track down students who weren’t in a first or second block class and the interviewers were a little easier to secure because they didn’t have to commit to a four-hour time, just one and a half.”

In order to run the interviews more seamlessly, Speech teachers like Jerome relied heavily on the community volunteers to play the role of interviewer. These volunteers range from student parents to former teachers, and use the skills they acquired through experience to provide a guiding hand.

“It is critical that students are prepared for the work world starting with the interview process,” volunteer Laura Wakefield said. “I have been in human resources for many years working with prospective and current employees and feel that sharing my HR expertise would be a way of contributing to my community.”

The interviewers are given a rubric to grade each of the students, the categories include application/resume review, nonverbal communication, vocal delivery and job qualifications. The questions that are asked are meant to mimic questions asked during a real interview to determine if the candidate would be a strong employee.

“As an interviewer, my responsibilities included evaluating a student’s application and resume, and then meeting with the student,” volunteer and former Millard West counselor Susan Hancock said. “When meeting with the student, I asked a variety of questions to determine if the student would be a desirable employee for the business where the student chose to apply. After the interview, my responsibility at that point is to evaluate the student’s interview on nonverbal skills and verbal skills. After completely evaluating the student’s application, resume and interview, I determine why the student would or would not be hired and write an answer to that question.”

The benefits of this exercise are apparent to the students, who are gaining valuable skills and experience.

“I started with practicing the hard questions first because we had a reference sheet which had questions the interviews might ask us so I wrote down possible answers on a notecard,” freshman Grace Adams said. “This process definitely helped me with my anxiety because I know what to expect and what to prepare for during future interviews.”

With the immeasurable benefits the Mock Job Interviews provide, the experience will continue to serve students as a lifelong skill they will take with them.