Each year, students in Riverside’s Planning 10 classes get the opportunity to do mock job interviews. As part of the experience, the students dress up in formal attire and create a resume and cover letter. The entire process has been designed to be made as close to an interview for an actual job as possible. The teachers even get local volunteers to come to the school and play the part of the interviewer, since students get a better understanding when the interview is conducted with someone they don’t know.

“It’s a very competitive job market out there,” said parent interviewer Shannon Stahr. Stahr is a controller at Total Green Commercial Cleaning and has a background in business. “The more prepared a student can be, going in to a real life interview, the better.” During the interview, Planning 10 students won’t have to be afraid to make mistakes, because they can learn to be better for next time.

Interviewers also have expectations, and as a student, being prepared is of great importance. Certain answers that the interviewee gives would indicate whether they would fit in well with the environment of the company they’re interviewing for. For Stahr, smiles and good positive interaction make it much easier to get to know somebody. When they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves, the interviewer gets more honest answers while the students get better at the same time.

Many jobs out there are well suited for students, such as fast food, retail and lifeguarding. While some require more training than others, it doesn’t necessarily limit opportunities in the job market. By having this experience in school, students take away a stronger understanding of their own interviewing skills, and what they might need to succeed in an actual job. It is important to know that it’s the skills, not necessarily the job that will benefit the students in their future careers.