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Mock interviews set students up for success in the workforce

Wasco Independence High School held a mock interview workshop to provide seniors with a real job interview experience with local employers.

"We decided to host this event as a continuum from the career fair we recently hosted and continue to expose students to diverse career opportunities within the community," Principal Rusvel Prado said.

He said that it's important for students to have these types of opportunities to take what they are learning in the classroom and put it into practice.

The workshop helped put students on the right track to achieve their goals after graduation.

"Mock interviews help the students learn what to expect in a real interview and how they can improve in presenting (selling) themselves. We made the process as realistic as possible by having community business partners such as Target, Chase Bank, City of Wasco, Wasco High School personnel and California Home Pros do the interviews.

Students took home principles to help them in the real world.

"We intended for students to walk away feeling less anxious about the process and a boost in their self-confidence. By participating in these types of events, students can practice their communication skills and learn more about themselves and their areas of strength and improvement."

Shontay Smith from Chase Bank helped to coordinate the event.

"It all started by teaching financial health to them. I asked them about their savings goals, and they said it was about jobs. I dug a little deeper and found that many of them didn't have the fundaments to seek a job."

"Between Chase, myself and staff at IHS, we created this opportunity for students, local business owners and community partners to come together and conduct these mock interviews."

She said it allows them to know their self-worth in the workforce.

"It builds self-esteem and gives them an advantage because it takes the blinders off, so they know what they're good at and apply for jobs they wouldn't have thought to apply for."

Senior Samantha Gaitan said, "I feel like it was a great experience. I learned how to talk to professionals, which will be useful when I interview for jobs after graduation."

Another senior, Eric Torres, said, "The workshop gave me many things to expect in an interview. It helped me by making me more confident in my answers."

"They gave me tips like how to give a firm handshake, have good posture and carry a better and natural conversation. The best part was getting feedback, so I know what to fix in my next interview."

Senior Gael Lopez said, "What I enjoyed most was talking one-on-one with the employers and having a human interaction, cracking jokes and laughing to break the ice."

Tilo Cortez and his wife, Jeni, from the real estate company California Home Pros, were both on hand for the mock interviews.

"We decided to participate because we love volunteering for these events. Any time we can help the youth by sharing our life experiences, we are always happy to do so."

He said he hoped to instill in them that everyone has something valuable to contribute to the workforce.

Another interviewer, Janette Bravo from Target, said, "My goal through the workshop was to give the students real-life experience and how interviews are in person. I wish I would have had this when I first interviewed."

"I think the students did really well with their answers and were very forthcoming."

Marleni Maston, an adult education coordinator, also interviewed the students.

"I was very impressed at how calm they were. They were well-dressed and looked very professional. Every high school should have these mock interviews. It's setting them up for success."


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