Sunday, April 13, 2014

Conducting mock interviews with students

It's been awhile since I did a content-heavy post. It was a long first week back at work after Spring Break and then a whole week off for my father-in-law's death/funeral. I had a lot of catch-up to do last week, but I survived.

One of the things I did this past week was mock interviews with my English IV/Technical Writing students. There are a few ways to give students an interview experience in class, and I have done all three of these. It really depends on the resources you have available and how much time you want to spend/put into doing them.

1. Mock interviews with professionals from the area. This is my favorite, and in my opinion, is the most beneficial. I have gotten into contact with area professionals from all fields--preferably people who do interviewing and hiring as part of their job. I have gotten a manager from the bank, a worker from one of the area labor unions, a fire chief, librarian, the superintendent of our district, and many others to come in and actually conduct practice interviews with my students. I provide a list of questions they can ask, but they can, of course, ask their own.

The students each have about 7-8 minutes for their practice interview (I have about 6 professionals per class period). Students are asked to dress nicely that day, come with a copy of their resume, and take the mock interview seriously. Afterward, each interviewer fills out a quick survey on each student's interviewing skills.

I love doing it this way because it's as close to a real interview as you can get without actually interviewing for a job. I've even had a couple of the interviewers offer my students jobs they had open because they did so well! The downside to this method is that you obviously need to spend a lot of time calling people and finding those who would be willing and have time to do this. The nice thing is, once you've done it once, you can keep those same contacts for next year.

2. Another method is to interview students yourself at the front of the room and have their peers write down suggestions as they watch the mock interview. I set up two chairs at the front of the room and introduce myself, shake hands, etc as if it was a real interview. I keep it to 3-4 questions per student. This usually takes two class periods.

Students at their desk have a slip of paper with each student's name on it. They write down positives and suggestions during the mock interview, then pass them forward. I always read through them before giving them to the students to make sure nothing is inappropriate or mean. This way, a student gets 20+ pieces of constructive criticism from peers.

The plus to this method is that there isn't as much time and effort to planning it. The downside is that it isn't as authentic as having other people interview them. They are more comfortable with you as their teacher.

3. Finally, if you are short on time and just want to give them a quick glimpse at possible questions, I have used before. It is free to use and requires no signing up.

Students should have ear buds or head phones while going through this website. They can click on different categories of questions and hear the computer ask them the questions, as well as show what some good responses to that question would look like. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a free service that allows students to type or speak responses and then give feedback. I think some college career centers have something like this, but you must be a student to use it.

This is obviously the least realistic option, but it is good for a one-day activity or for a class where you just want to give them a brief introduction to interviewing skills. If your class is doing a whole interviewing unit, I'd recommend options 1 or 2.

Have you conducted mock interviews with your classes? How did you do them?

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! When I taught Seniors, I did a college and career unit and had them do resumes and what not. I did mock interviews with them, but bringing in a professional sounds like an awesome idea!! :)
    Tales of Teaching in Heels