Mock interviews help Johnston students prepare for their future
JOHNSTON, Ia. (Dec. 1, 2022) — Students in Johnston High School’s new iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates) program took part in mock interviews this week to help prepare for their future.
Several Johnston school board members, the superintendent, a school counselor and other administrators visited the class to help with the interviews. They sat across students one by one, asking typical interview questions — like what their goals are, their successes, failures, what makes them stand out and why they should be hired.
Roughly 35 students participated in the mock interviews over two days. The interviews were limited to 5 minutes and each student was interviewed by each interviewer in the room. The exercise was aimed at honing students’ skills not only in applying for jobs, but also in phone and in-person interviewing skills, which can be nerve-racking and challenging without practice.
Iowa one of 39 states with JAG, which helps kids build the skills they need to be successful in the classroom, on the job and in life. The non-profit connects business and education to help prevent dropouts and provide school-to-career solutions. Each year, the program serves 2,800 students in 74 programs reaching 29 communities in Iowa and Illinois.
Last year, iJAG students graduated at a rate of 97% despite facing significant barriers. That’s better than Iowa’s best-in-the-nation rate of 91.6%, according to the program’s website.
iJAG provides small-group instruction to students, helping them master 37 core competencies related to school, work, and life success. Employers will visit the classroom to make presentations, critique student work and resumes, host mock interviews and provide mentoring. The program will also provide students hands-on learning opportunities including job site visits, job shadowing, internships, pre-apprenticeships, summer job training or work for pay.
Some students choose iJAG because a conventional classroom doesn’t work for them, or they may be experiencing distractions or barriers at school or at home. The program relies on real-world, project-based instructional methods and an unconventional approach that emphasizes personal connections with students.
This week’s mock interviews are part of a career vision portfolio that each iJAG student will complete. Other parts of the portfolio include writing cover letters, putting together resumes, and creating collages about their chosen career pathway.
As part of this week’s mock interviews, students were expected to give a “GNAP” when meeting the interviewer — greeting, name, affiliation and purpose. GNAP is a staple in the iJAG program when introducing yourself to someone. The program teaches that a good greeting and firm handshake goes a long way to making a great first impression.
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