High school teachers Scott Aldrich, Tricia Rickert, and Amy Forman organized the lesson as part of English assignments for their seniors. For some students, it likely was their first job interview, but it certainly won’t be their last.
“The feedback we’re getting from students and interviewers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Aldrich. “It’s important for kids to know how to do this and virtual interviews are a real thing.”
The virtual interviews were all set to take place this week. When the high school was forced to close for this week because of increasing numbers of COVID cases, Aldrich and Rickert said they believed it was still an important assignment for students to complete. The nice thing about a virtual interview, Aldrich said, is that it can be done from anywhere.
So students linked up from their bedrooms, basements or sitting at their kitchen tables at home. Those without good internet service were able to come to the high school library or other internet hotspots around the district.
“So many people think English is about literature and writing research papers, but it’s more than that. Students need to know how to speak and communicate. This is a real-world application,” said Rickert. “We always have kids say they want more classes that are real-world experiences. This is it.”
Students had to write a cover letter and prepare a resume. Based on interests, they were assigned to an interview. More than a dozen companies and 29 interviewers - local and across the country - participated. After the interviews, students also sent a thank you note - either through email or a hand-written note delivered by mail.
“There are a lot of opportunities in life where kids are going to need these skills whether they are interviewing for a job or something else. They need to know how to communicate,” said Aldrich.
Rickert and Aldrich said the mock interviews give students immediate feedback and tips from the interviewers. “A lot of times you interview for a job and you have no idea why you didn’t get the job or how you did in the interview. With this, students got instant feedback about their strengths and areas for improvement,” said Aldrich.
Aldrich thanked everyone who volunteered to help with the interviews. He posted on his Facebook page, “A HUGE shoutout to so many wonderful volunteers from some fantastic organizations in our own community, from across the state and around the nation. They made this possible.”
He went on to say, “Despite the challenges of COVID, distance learning and internet/technology snafus, everyone did an amazing job. Proud of this group of seniors who have had an unorthodox year for sure. And thankful for our community partners, my colleagues, and some generous parents who stepped up big time. Working together we accomplish so much more. Support your local schools and invest in our young people.”