by Heather Kaufmann, Volunteer Coordinator
On May 8 and 9, United South End Settlements (USES) Workforce Readiness program hosted its first Mock Interview Workshop. Over 60 students from the Adult Basic Education (ABE), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Transition to College programs participated in one-on-one mock interviews with volunteer working professionals.
“I was happy to interview with one of the volunteers because he gave me good information,” reflected ESOL student Mohamed Ibrahim. “I appreciated his feedback because it will help me prepare for future interviews and my professional career.”
The Workforce Readiness program is designed to address the economic wellbeing of low-income residents the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods through education and teaching the skills necessary to secure employment. The integration and development of interview preparedness is a critical component.
“Each of the students returned from the mock interviews feeling like they had accomplished something,” said ESOL teacher Rebecca Stahl. “Not only did they get to practice their English skills, but they also felt that they were able to increase their confidence level in discussing their workplace skills and goals.”
Jessica Medeiros, USES College and Career Readiness Coach, works closely with ABE and ESOL students both in the classroom and one-on-one to help them develop professional skills. She and her students work together to build cover letters and resumes. They search for jobs online and attend career fairs throughout Boston. She also helps them develop the soft skills needed for the workplace such as professional attire, body language, and communication. Last week’s mock interviews were the culmination of a year of preparation.
After each interview, the volunteer interviewers provided feedback to the students, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of their performance. A number of students have real job interviews lined up in the near future, making this a crucial opportunity for them to practice and improve their interview skills.
“I believe that the only way to overcome any fear is to face it,” reflected volunteer interviewer Christi Barb. “If any of the students I interviewed had any fear, they did not show it. They seemed very motivated and determined.”
These mock interviews would not have been possible without the volunteers who generously offered their time and energy. Thank you, volunteers, for helping our students to become workforce ready!