The Panther Press

Mock Interviews Prepare Students for Jobs

School NewsGreg Higgins
Interviewer Mike Kennedy, left, and Keenon Ashworth, right, get acquainted before beginning the interview process.

Interviewer Mike Kennedy, left, and Keenon Ashworth, right, get acquainted before beginning the interview process.

In a professional manner, Kayela Davis thanks Glen Bawcum for her interview.

In a professional manner, Kayela Davis thanks Glen Bawcum for her interview.

We all have aspirations of that dream job or career. And it’s the classes we choose in high school that prepare us for higher education needed to fulfill those goals. But interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking!

To help in the interview process and quieten those fears, students in Taniqua Blakely’s English IV class at North Lamar High School were recently given an assignment to complete a ‘Senior Portfolio.’ The project included creating a résumé, comparing careers of interests, reflecting on high school, and designing a ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ for their lives after high school.

“Each portfolio is tailored to the student’s dreams and aspirations,” said Blakely. “The students’ goals range from being plumbers and welders to becoming doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Some aspire to join the military while others have decided to go straight into the workforce.”

NLHS World History instructor Dennis Hodgkiss said he became aware of Blakely’s project when asked to write a letter of recommendation.

Interviewer Glen Bawcum looks over a résumé before meeting the next applicant

Interviewer Glen Bawcum looks over a résumé before meeting the next applicant

“Each student had to get three letters of recommendation. I wrote several as did other teachers. I think this is an awesome learning experience for the students,” said Hodgkiss.

To help with the process, Blakely, with the assistance of NLHS Assistant Principal Jeri Wooldridge, enlisted the expertise of local businessmen Mike Kennedy, Glen Bawcum and Ken Kohls. The three community members spent two days at NLHS sharing their time and wisdom interviewing 115 students.

Polished and dressed, each student met with their interviewer at an assigned time for a series of questions commonly asked by those hiring. The executives shared what employers are looking for in employees and gave tips on how to conduct themselves in an interview.

When students were asked about the interview process, Kennon Ashworth said:

“At first I thought I came prepared. But shortly into the interview I realized how little I was actually prepared. The interview itself was very enlightening.” Reflecting on what he learned in the interview process, he said, “He gave me tips on communication, eye contact and how to answer questions.”

Ken Kohl’s gives pointers to Houston Jones during the NLHS junior’s mock interview. 

Ken Kohl’s gives pointers to Houston Jones during the NLHS junior’s mock interview. 

Jacob Large said,

“At first I didn’t think there was anything to worry about, but when I got in there and started the interview I had to think about the questions that he asked.”

When asked what the most helpful piece of advice gained from the assignment, Rance Johnson said he learned to stay confident and keep good eye contact.

Junior Carly McCurry said,

“I learned what a real life interview would be like. What I need to know for the future and how to dress properly. I also learned that my goals in life are possible and I don’t have to doubt myself because I can do it.” “The students benefited greatly from this activity,” said Blakely. “We look forward to doing this activity again next year.”