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HARLINGEN — More than 170 Texas State Technical College students presented their resumes and cover letters and greeted area business and industry representatives who served as interviewers/coaches at a recent Interview Practicum presented by TSTC’s Career Services department.
The mock-interview event focused on preparing summer 2023 candidates for graduation for real-life job interviews.
The event consisted of three rounds of 20-minute practice interviews with a different interviewer/coach for each round.
Drake Everett, a TSTC Career Services representative, said students arrived ready to discuss their job qualifications and credentials.
“The interviewers challenged the students by taking their own liberties during the interviews,” he said. “They bestowed the knowledge they’ve used in their careers and shared that unique perspective with the students. That prompted the students to use critical thinking skills and quickly formulate a proper response.”
Some of the TSTC programs that were represented at the event include Automotive Technology, Auto Collision and Management Technology, Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology and Wind Energy Technology.
Sergio Mendoza, of Harlingen, is an Automotive Technology student who said the event provided positive support.
“The feedback I was given was to focus on professional words and to provide better examples that connect to my job qualifications,” he said. “A positive critique that an interviewer shared with me is to continue with proper grooming and attire for a real-life interview.”
Dru Watt, of Edinburg, is a Nursing student who said the interviewer/coaches provided helpful feedback.
“Initially I felt nervous in the first round, but the feedback I was given made me feel more comfortable,” she said. “I was able to soak in that advice in the second and third rounds. The critiques I was given was to brag more about myself and how to fix my resume. I appreciate the tips the interviewers/coaches suggested such as not to get personal, and share information that’s valuable to the employer.”
Wesley Robinson, chief nursing officer and vice president for the Harlingen Medical Center, said it was great to coach the students about common interview questions.
“It’s about building their confidence when they go in for an interview,” he said. “The main feedback I have given is about the question, ‘Tell me about yourself?’ People are always nervous. I suggested they create a 30-second stump speech about yourself so they’re better prepared when they are asked that.
Michelle Everett, a retired educator from the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, said it was inspiring to hear the students’ stories.
“I gave the students some examples about elaborating further such as adding specific concrete examples to their work experience,” she said. “That will help the interviewer see how the candidate would perform at work.”
At each session’s conclusion, the students filled out assessment questionnaires to rate themselves in areas such as appearance, leadership, resume writing and working with people.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.