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Mock job interviews held in English class

by Merrie Leininger

Students of Michael Schneider’s technical English class spent a lot of their day Wednesday interviewing for jobs.

The mock interview project is the culmination of three weeks of preparing for a real job interview by the class, Schneider said.

“Doing an interview with teachers is just not enough stress. It needs to be in an environment where it counts,” Schneider said.

To help out the class in their pursuit of excellence were about a dozen members of the local business community as well as teachers and members of the military.

The students in technical English chose to take an English class in their final year of high school that focuses more on work-related writing than on literature.

Schneider said the class learns how to write business letters, resumes, prepare portfolios and discusses workplace issues and ethics.

This is the third year Schneider has taught the class, but he said he is not sure how the class will be changed by the competencies.

“This class meets all the competencies for writing and employability, but we are working on the reading part of it. We do a research paper like the other seniors, but there’s not the focus on literature like in the regular English classes,” Schneider said.

– Final project. Schneider said students are required to do at least two mock interviews with community businesspeople and the interviewers grade them on grooming, clothing, posture/body language, eye contact, manners, language, personality, preparation, attitude and how they answer the questions.

Their two top scores are averaged together for their final interview grade.

Klaire Pirtle, principal of Minden Elementary School, was one of the volunteer interviewers and said all the students were well prepared.

“They were so prepared, I think they’re all going to get 100 percent,” Pirtle said. “Every single one I’ve interviewed, I’d hire.”

Pirtle said the questions they were given to ask were very close to questions she asks when interviewing prospective teachers.

Larry Marchant of the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery said the hatchery likes to be involved in the education of young people and takes part in intern and student shadow programs.

“They were able to articulate their future goals and their manners were all good. I’ve been impressed,” he said.

Schneider said many students in this year’s class want to open their own businesses.

“That’s probably the biggest desire from this year’s class. There’s about a dozen students who want to open their own businesses, and that’s a tough thing to do research about,” he said.

Senior Victoria Nolan, who hopes to open her own karate school, said the mock interviews taught her a lot.

“Mr. Schneider went through a lot and prepared us well. I’ve learned a lot about how bosses in the future will question me. I picked up little tips and know more what to look forward to,” Nolan said.

Senior T.J. Bond has plans to enlist into the Army after graduation, but he said the mock interviews helped him in another way.

“I’m using it in Vocational Industrial Clubs of America. They have skills competitions and interviewing is one of them that they grade you on how well you interview,” Bond said. “It helped me out immensely. This experience really opens students’ eyes to what it’s like to go for a career job. It’s one of the best classes I’ve ever had. It prepares you for real life. A lot of people would be lost without Mr. Schnieder’s class.”