BY KARISSA MILLER
Crossroads Arts and Science Early College students know that it takes a bit more than dressing sharply these days to make a great impression in a job interview.
Effective communication skills, a clean resume and maintaining eye contact can mean the difference between getting hired and getting passed over.
On Tuesday afternoon, about 20 Crossroads students got a taste of what it’s like to vie for employment as a project manager during the school’s mock interview day.
Tracy Skeens, project management teacher, arranged mock interviews with district administrators and community volunteers.
Skeens said the weeklong unit teaches students communication skills, people skills, creativity, peer reviewing and other important life skills that help students connect what they learn in the classroom to a life beyond school.
Since the mock interviews were completely virtual, Skeens also discussed with students the importance of appropriate room or wall background during a Zoom interview.
In the days leading up to the mock interview, the students learned how to create a compelling resume, how to research what project managers do and the appropriate dress for interviews, along with tips and tricks for impressing the interviewer. They also learned what questions employers can ask and other dos and don’ts of interviewing for jobs.
Participating professionals from throughout the community logged on Tuesday afternoon to interview individual students. Once everyone showed up, Skeens sent everyone to separate “breakout rooms,” where students were interviewed individually.
Skeens heard the interviewers comment favorably about her students afterwards.
Student Victoria Lemmond said she prepared for her interview by reviewing sample questions with her aunt before Tuesday.
Skeens’ students were grateful for the skills that this unit taught them..
Kloe Johnson said the experience boosted her confidence and made her more comfortable with what it would feel like to really interview for a job.
“It takes you through the possible situations that can happen. If there’s a question that comes up that you weren’t prepared for, it provides a safe environment for you to figure out the correct way and how to be genuine in all of your answers,” added Andrea Argueta.
Grace VanPatten commended her teacher for putting the experience together for them. “We couldn’t have done this without Ms. Skeens. She really makes sure we are fully prepared for life after high school. She really prepares us for everything,” she said.
Jonathan Ribbeck, I-SS executive director of elementary education, was among the interviewers. He said Skeens’ students did a phenomenal job.
About 12 of the 19 students have had real job interview before Tuesday’s mock interviews.
“Even though school doesn’t look normal real learning is still going on. Teachers are really working really hard to make sure students are learning and succeeding even in an uncertain environment,” Skeens said.