Students learn from mock interviews at Area 30
Seniors at Area 30 have been working on mock interviews recently as the end portion of a career unit that all students at the learning center go through.
Janet Branneman is one of the organizers for the interviews. She said the goal is to have people who work in a business relevant to the student perform the interview.
"We use people from the community and we try to use people that are involved in that area that the student is interested in," Branneman said.
The career unit includes a variety of employment-related focuses. All of the school's 148 seniors go through the mock interviews, which have been part of the program for around 10 years. It takes two weeks to go through all the interviews.
"We start the career unit at the beginning of the school year," said Maureen Egold, one of the mock interview organizers. We pull them down to the lab where they do their resume and their job application.
"They also have to do a college search and a job search in the field they are interested in. These mock interviews are kind of the end of that," she said.
Branneman said confidence is one of the benefits students get from the interviews.
"That's the feedback that I get from them, 'when I did go in for a real interview I felt like I was somewhat prepared.' You're not just going in their cold," she said.
Egold also touched on confidence for students as a benefit of the exercise.
"I think a lot of them, this is their first experience (in an interview situation)," she said. "Even if they have a position, they might do farm work or construction or they got the job because of their uncle or cousin- they haven't really had the experience of going through the interview process."
Branneman said they ask the community members doing the interviews to not hold back.
"We say to the interviewers, 'tell them (what they do wrong).' Yesterday we had an interview where some of the girls wore jeans and she wrote 'never wear jeans during an interview,' she said. "We tell them to be tough. ... We don't check their resumes and their job application forms. What they put down is what the interviewer sees."
Egold emphasized the verisimilitude of the process.
"We just want them to experience the real situation of going in to interview with a strange person and presenting yourself in that format," she said.
Branneman said the benefit in the interviews isn't just for the students.
"I think it's almost as valuable to the people who do the interviewing. We're always amazed at the feedback we get from the people who come who will say to us 'I am amazed at the knowledge these students have and the research they have done on the job that they want to go to,'" she said.
"We have a lot of interviewers that have been doing this for several years and they always say to us 'please call us again, we love to do this, we love to meet the kids,'" Branneman said.