Senior Interviews Prep Students for Careers

Senior Interviews Prep Students for Careers
Posted on 12/17/2018
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Remember your first job interview or public presentation? The process of preparing for and delivering an impressive interview is not an easy one, and usually not something that comes naturally to most. HSWCHS Oral Communications and Art Instructor Mrs. Lorrie Duke helps seniors prepare for that experience through a Senior Interviews event. She commissions professionals from the HSSD and the community to create mock interviews for students. Students are required to create full resumes, including references and letters of recommendation, to prepare for the event. Students receive real world feedback from interviewers regarding their resume, presence and delivery during the interview, and general guidelines for improvement.

“We have to do everything we can to prepare our students for experiences they will face after high school. I have so many different reactions from students when we prepare for this project. Some are terrified, while others enjoy and even thrive at the challenge of putting themselves out there and receiving constructive criticism from a complete stranger,” says Mrs. Duke. “We appreciate so much the partners and staff that participate, because they really are the magic to this. Students listen to an outsider differently than they do a teacher or staff member that they see every day.”

HSWCHS staff set up the Senior Interviews event in the gymnasium. Multiple tables with one-two interviewers are arranged in rows. Interviewers take time to look over an entire packet provided by students with a resume, references, and letters of recommendations. Students are then sent one at a time to individual tables for interviews. Some students clearly articulate a subject area or career field that they want the interview to focus on. Others work to simply represent their character traits, skills, and interests with confidence. The interviews last 15-20 minutes each and include a broad array of questions that put students on the spot to describe goals, plans, and qualifications.

“We hope that the interview experience provides feedback to students that may be a warning for them to work on improvement of their skills, confirmation that they are on the right path, or general feedback about professional experiences and what they can do to best prepare,” says Instructional Facilitator and Career Academies Coordinator Crystal Myers. “Part of making them career ready is providing them with a genuine picture of what the professional world looks like. This is our best effort at creating a formal opportunity for them to represent themselves and everything they have to offer,” she said.

As interviews were ongoing in the gymnasium throughout the morning, HSWCHS ibrarian Ms. Shipman set up a preparation area in the library. Students rotated between stations where they could choose to practice their responses to questions or greeting to interviewers, receive help on tying ties, meditate if needed, and in every way - relax and prepare. “Not only did this lighten the mood for students, it’s also important that they understand that interviews should be taken seriously. You don’t just walk in without any preparation and expect to make a good impression on an employer. Ms. Shipman helped us to reinforce that point as students waited for their names to be called,” noted Mrs. Duke.

Students received a full page of rated factors and notes from interviewers, and were invited during the sessions to ask directly for advice or feedback. Rating factors included items such as professional attire, quality of greeting, eye contact, general communication skills, knowledge of career path, status of the resume and other materials, maturity during the interview, and more. Students received compliments, suggestions, and advice all via constructive criticism to best prepare them as they move forward. All interviewers would agree, the HSSD is full of wonderfully diverse, talented, intelligent, interesting, and well rounded students. Our future is so bright in their hands.

Learn more about the Hot Springs World Class High School, here.

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