Mock Interviews Preparing Seniors for the Future

MANY OF US remember our first job, how much the wage was, and who was our first boss. We also remember our first interview. How many of us were sweating uncontrollably, voice cracking and rehearsing all morning before the big event.

For over 20 years, Madera Unified has taken the time out of our English curriculum to make sure our students know what is expected during the interview. Every fall, every senior must complete the Mock Interview process, a high school graduation requirement. In this process Seniors put together a resume, fill out an application, and complete letters of introduction and thank you letters. They compile all their compulsory documents into a portfolio, along with supplementary items like letters of recommendation, awards, and anything else the students feel will help them land a job.

Once the students have completed their portfolio, and the teacher has checked and graded it, they move on to the next phase. For several days at Madera High School, and several days at Madera South High School, usually a morning at the continuation schools, the libraries are taken over by community members ready to conduct our interviews. Even though it is called Mock Interviews, there is nothing fake about them.

“Our students take the program very seriously,” says Arnido Aranico MSHS English Teacher. “The students have their portfolios in hand, all dressed in professional wear. I spend a lot of time that week teaching them how to tie ties and look and act the part.”

The students are scored on how well they greet the interviewer, eye contact and introduction. MUSD Seniors understand the importance of waiting to be told to be seated and how to speak clearly. The students’ portfolios showcase where they are applying, and the business partner typically asks students questions related to their entry level job. The students have rehearsed many typical questions, but they must also be ready to think on their feet, and demonstrate their sharpness when asked that unexpected curveball question.

“The students have some questions practiced but it is fun to ask them what kind of animal they most identify with or what is their favorite movie and why. It just throws them off a little and makes them think,” says Jason Lorance owner of R&D Sanitation.

At the end of the interview the students get feedback from the interviewer. During the interview or the feedback session, many of our interviewers ask them about their future plans and offer advice if warranted. For many of our students, this conversation with a professional in the community is their first professional encounter, with a non MUSD employee or non family member. WE BELIEVE this helps our seniors not only get over their first interview jitters, but also prepare them for every interview after that.If you would like to participate in the program and help with the mock interviews, please email


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