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The Journal Gazette

Friday, April 21, 2017 1:00 am

Students practice vital skill: The job interview

REBECCA R. BIBBS | Herald Bulletin, Anderson

ELWOOD – Schuyler Brown, 17, knew he tended to gesture a great deal while speaking, something that might hamper his prospects at getting a job.

“I knew I had to keep my hands below the table,” he said.

So when the junior in the visual graphics and communications program at the John H. Hinds Career Center sat down for three mock interviews Tuesday, he made sure to keep his hands on his lap.

Brown was one of about 200 students able to test their interviewing skills with about 50 volunteers, including the mayors of Elwood and Alexandria and professionals from Red Gold, Anthem and Progressive Plastics.

Brown said he prepared some in his classes before being cut loose. But the feedback from the professionals is what really helped him improve, he said.

“It worked out better than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “After each one, I got more and more confident.”

Laura Groover, visual and graphic communications teacher at the Hinds Center, said there isn't much point in giving students specific job skills when they don't know how to make their way successfully through an interview. She counts interviewing as an actual skill.

“At this point, most of our students have not had an interview of any kind,” she said. “Interviewing is what gets you the job.”

Kaleb Wilkey, 16, said he felt prepared for the mock interview.

“Confidence is the key,” he said. “You've got to put the image in their head you are what they need. I know what it will be like. I need to come in confident, come on strong and come in with answers.”

Shantel Blackford, 17, said her preparation involved more than verbal preparation.

“We did a lot of work on getting our résumés set up,” the junior said. “There were still a lot of things I didn't know that my teacher helped me with.”