NEWS-LEDGER FEB 29, 2012 –
By Steve Marschke
Students at River City High School had a chance to practice their job interview skills last Wednesday, with help from Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and other guest interviewers.
The “guest grillers” visited two government civics classes of teacher Ronica Carlisle, interviewing about ten kids while others observed. Then, there was a debriefing to learn how to do better when they go out into the real world.
“The students in the class voted to do it and invited us to come,” said Cabaldon. “Given that the rates of teenage unemployment and youth unemployment have never been higher, and that so many high school students graduate with no work experience and into a tough employment market, this is important.”
The kids “did great,” he added.
“It was a wide array of students – some with work experience, a couple of real go-getters, and a couple who were really shy. Afterward, we talked about things to do and things to avoid – not necessarily to sell yourself, but to present yourself and your skills in the best possible light.”
Teacher Ronica Carlisle said one of the goals is to help kids learn to handle such open-ended questions as
”Tell me about yourself,” “What do you do outside of school?” or “Do you have any questions for us?”, all of which can leave a young person stumped during an interview.
“(Cabaldon) talked about youth unemployment,” she said. “(The interviewers all gave real practical advice such as how to shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye, repeat (the interviewer’s) name.”
A number of the 70-or-so kids involved in the project said they learned some things.
RCHS journalism student Sam Urrea quoted interviewee Ryan Colen as saying he gained confidence from his practice interview:
“I was a little nervous at first, knowing these guys were important people, but as the interview progressed, I felt more and more confident about my answers to their weird questions.”
“I feel like I should have answered some questions better,” said fellow student Angelica Estrada, “but this will only help me for future interviews.”
She, too, was quoted by Urrea.
Teacher Carlisle says she hopes to bring the mock interviews back next year.
On the same day of the mock interviewers, Congressman Mike Thompson visited the RCHS campus to talk about youth employment and to tour the school’s new solar panel array.
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