District to host mock job interviews


Erin Sheffield

Secondary education director Marc Hamil talks with a student who will be participating in a mock interview.

Seniors will participate in mock job interviews with local business leaders during Interview Week April 17-19 in the library.

“This is a district-wide initiative,” associate principal Jennifer Boren said. “Our district has become very aware and concerned that many times our students leave, and they’ve never had an interview before. The first several are intimidating, and even when you’ve had a lot of interviews, practice is still always helpful.”

Interview Week is part of a plan to emphasize “soft skills,” non-verbal character traits, following a district-hosted survey of community business leaders.

“Multiple people stated within the first 30 seconds of an interview, they knew if they were going to hire them,” Boren said.”The emphasis that came off of that was on soft skills: a firm handshake, looking someone in the eye, being dressed professionally. From all of that data, the district decided to emphasize soft skills clear down to kindergarten.”

After polling residents, district employees reached out again in October to request community members participate in the Interview Week.

“Here at Canyon High, we are fully staffed for all three days,” Boren said. “We had a huge outpouring from the community. That was more affirmation that we’re doing the right thing, and the community is all in.”

We had a huge outpouring from the community.

— Jennifer Boren

Interviewers will complete feedback sheets with rubrics during the interviews.

“The interviewers have that rubric so they can know the kinds of things that we expect them to look for: a friendly handshake, looking in the eye, starting from the very beginning with the soft skills even down to the end,” Boren said. “That feedback sheet will go back to the English IV teachers so the students can finish the process by writing a ‘thank you’ email to the interviewer, and then the students will receive their feedback sheet.”

Boren said students can prepare by conducting internet research and thinking through common questions.

“One of the biggest questions in every interview is ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’” Boren said. “If students even thought through that, that would be a great use of students’ time prior to. The other one that I keep bringing up is at the end of every interview, the interviewer says, ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ That’s the time when you would ask questions about the company you’re interviewing with.”

As Interview Week approached, a committee of faculty organized the hospitality for visiting interviewers.

“I’ve had a wonderful committee around me,” Boren said. “We began to think of even the smallest details of greeting our community members. We have parking spots reserved for them. We have hospitality ready for them. We have special name tags made for them. We want to represent ourselves well and make them feel welcome.”