Mock Interviews Prepare Students for the Workforce

As seniors approach graduation, transitioning from high school to adulthood can often be daunting. But, by understanding the importance of preparing students for college and career success, the Regional Occupational Center (ROC) and the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) are bridging the gap between education and entering the workforce.
Across both campuses, students had the opportunity to participate in mock interviews, during which local professionals across 14 industry sectors provided guidance and feedback, empowering them with the essential skills needed for their future. 
Throughout the school year, students attending one of the 39 training programs at ROC and CTEC have been developing technical skills for entry-level employment. These programs prepare students for various career paths, including pharmacy technician, administrative office assistant, computer technologies, and digital marketing, among many others. Thus, in preparation for starting their careers, mock interviews were conducted for students to showcase their strengths and better prepare them for a real-world job interview.
In the span of a week, more than a hundred local professionals from various industries, ranging from seasoned executives to Human Resources specialists, volunteered their time to replicate the environment of one of the most important steps to entering the workforce. However, for some students, the event was not pretend. Students in certain programs had the opportunity to actually interview with participating businesses eager to hire students and provide them with internship opportunities.
Becca Bland, Director for Corporate Communications and Marketing at Tejon Ranch Company, has long been involved with ROC and CTEC's initiatives. Now, she is excited about the possibility of offering a student an internship opportunity at the Outlets at Tejon.
“From marketing strategies to event coordinating, we would love to pour into some students to help them launch into their careers,” said Bland.
One of the most significant benefits of the mock interview experience was the personalized feedback provided to each student. After the interview, professionals offered constructive feedback on students' resumes, interview responses, body language, and overall presentation.

The feedback was invaluable for Angel Estrada in the Computer Technologies program. He received insights into his strengths and areas for improvement. 

“I realized I was kind of lacking in my resume, and they helped me go over it and what I can do to make it better,” said Estrada.
Beyond technical skills, the mock interviews emphasized the importance of soft skills such as communication, confidence, and professionalism. 
“Because I am in the Marketing industry the main thing I look for is communication, said Bland. “My favorite question that I ask is, ‘What is a characteristic that you deplore in people?’ It really gets them thinking. You get to the heart of the person versus ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ I like to go a little bit past that and it helps me see we’re not just hiring a student. I want to see who we are hiring.”
For many students, the mock interviews were preparatory scenarios that allowed them to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow professionally. Beyond the interview, students networked with professionals, asked questions about different career paths and received advice on their future endeavors.
"My hope is to ensure that students gain real-world experience, receive constructive feedback and access networking opportunities to engage with industry professionals so they have the tools to start their careers successfully," said Enedina Solano, Recruitment and Career Technician for ROC and CTEC.
We thank our industry partners for generously volunteering their time to provide students with a real-world experience, personalized feedback, and internship opportunities. By sharing their expertise, students were equipped with the skills and confidence needed to excel in their journey after high school.