As a part of the formative assessment on the unit of job-seeking and interview skills, Career and Life Planning students participated in mock interviews with different community members on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Throughout the unit, FACS teacher Emily Schmidt taught students about resume-building, cover letters, good references and “how to put the best foot forward” online and in general.
“Yes, we could take a multiple choice test on interviews, and that would be super great, but to truly put a student in an opportunity to show me how they can use those skills and apply them later in life is a lot more applicable and I think a lot more meaningful for students,” Schmidt said. “I have a lot of students … look back on their mock interview and were kind of nervous about it, but it’s something they find very memorable and it’s something they take a lot from.”
For the mock interviews, Schmidt gathered community members — administers, counselors, teachers, parents and district members — to serve as interviewers. As a part of the grade, the students were required to wear business casual. For six minutes, the students were asked questions they would be in a real interview. Sophomore Sydney Ebner said she enjoyed the opportunity.
“It was a little bit difficult to just be sitting in front of someone and answer questions intelligently when you’re nervous,” Ebner said. “It was still a great experience.”
In the three weeks before the test, Schmidt said she prepared the students by emphasizing cover letters and resumes. Additionally, they were video-taped when they did practice interviews with a partner.
“They see all those nervous habits [in the video], whether it’s physical habits: the ‘ums,’ the ‘uhs,’ their language, their posture, hand gestures, all that,” Schmidt said.
As the day of the mock interview approached, Ebner took extra steps to prepare.
“I prepared on my own at home in front of my mirror,” Ebner said. “I talked to myself so I could practice making eye contact when I talk.”
Schmidt hopes the students gained confidence they can use in future interviews.
“I think a lot of them just get scared of having to talk to an adult in a scenario where you have to sell your skills and experiences,” Schmidt said. “It’s hard for a lot of us to be able to brag about ourselves and if somebody asks you one of your strengths, people think of something on the spot. The more times you get to do it, the better you get. … It’s about as real-world as you can get.”
Ebner felt her interview skills grew from the experience.
“I haven’t had that kind of experience like that before, like being nervous and trying to talk about myself — it’s difficult, but it’s something I feel a little bit more comfortable in,” Ebner said. “I learned what I really needed to know and what I needed to learn.”
Seeing the culmination of all the skills she’d taught through the unit made it one of Schmidt’s favorite topics to cover.
“I think it’s one of my favorite days of the whole year because I get to see students actually practice a skill I know they’re gonna use later in life,” Schmidt said. “[It] makes me feel like, ‘Hey, they’re gonna take something away that’s really impactful and important.’”