Dressed for success and resume in hand, students in the Ottumwa High School iJag program practiced their interview skills today with real employers. Representatives from John Deere, Community First Credit Union, and Hy-Vee conducted mock interviews at OHS.
“I got up at 6:15 a.m.,” said OHS junior, Chloe Hartley. “I wanted to look nice and presentable. I want people to know I’m trying.” Although she currently works at McDonalds, she felt the experience was valuable. Through iJag, she has learned that different jobs have different expectations. With a goal to work in the medical field, she knows that experiences such as this will help her be successful.
“I was nervous,” said Gennifer Jones, another junior.
iJag coordinator, Tina Walker, said this is all part of the curriculum to connect students to school and work. Last week she took 30 students to a job fair. This is the second year she has brought in local employers to help conduct mock interviews. “John Deere was here last year,” she said. “They are in our classroom a lot.”
Paiten Batterson interviewed with Hy-Vee during the mock process. She currently works at Culvers and has plans to become a teacher. “Hy-Vee asked a lot more questions,” she said. “The experience showed me that it doesn’t matter who you talk to, it just shows you need to be ready no matter what. And don’t be nervous.” She hopes the experience helps her with future job opportunities.
Prior to the mock interviews, students practiced with each other in class. They critiqued each other’s resume and even practiced shaking hands.
Students were milling around outside the two classrooms where interviews were taking place. They were making sure they looked good, looking over their resume, and giving each other support. After the interviews, peers asked how it went. Senior Nick Lippincott thought his interview went well. “I learned I need to work more on eye contact,” he said. With a real interview scheduled next week with an area manufacturer, he plans to listen to the advice given.
Walker hopes the activity prepares students for work or college. “I hope they think about their future goals,” she said.