Michalynn Diaz was nervous for her first-ever job interview, but afterward, she felt prepared for her future. Diaz was just one of more than 120 Washington High School freshmen who participated in the mock interviews at Washington High School on Friday, March 8.
The interviews, sponsored by Kirkwood, were designed to give students the chance to speak with business professionals and learn what an interview looks and feels like. They were not interviewing for specific jobs, but instead rehearsing for the future.
Each student was scored on a rubric with categories ranging from first impression to general attitude to speaking ability. At the end of the session the student was handed back the rubric to see where they excel and where they need improvement.
Judy Marshall, Program Coordinator with Kirkwood Workplace Learning Connection, said the 15-minute interviews are a great learning experience because the student spends the first 10 minutes interviewing and the last five minutes receiving feedback.
She said most ninth-graders will soon be looking at getting summer jobs and this is the perfect opportunity for them to receive tips and pointers to use in the future.
“This is many, many times, their first opportunity for an interview with anyone, so we’re just providing those first steps in the interviewing process and so they feel comfortable at an interview and get some critical feedback on how they can improve,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity.”
Marshall said ninth-graders are the perfect candidates for the process because some may be looking for summer jobs soon. She said that by giving them a realistic experience, the students are one step ahead of the rest.
Jan Miller, who works in HR at Walmart, was glad to be part of the experience because she said she often sees people who have never interviewed before. She said the mock interviews not only help the students be less nervous when it comes time for their official job interviews, but gives them an idea of what employers are looking for in future employees.
“I do regular job interviews all the time and there are so many of them that come in and have never had a job interview experience,” she said. “This gives them a foot-in to what a job interview is and what (employers) are looking for.”
After her interview, Diaz said she was much more comfortable with the idea of a job interview and was thankful the experience gave her both a confidence boost and calmed her nerves about future interviews.
“These are a perfect way to know what to expect for the future for an interview,” she said. “I feel more prepared for interviews in the future.”