Students Gain Valuable Experience Through Mock Interviews

Senior English students worked on writing their resumes and cover letters in class and developed interviewing skills. They discussed the importance of job interviews and what they could expect, but there’s nothing better than actual interview practice.

“We have 29 different interviewers here today,” said teacher Scott Aldrich who, along with colleague Tricia Rickert, organized the event. “We’ve got a lot of different companies here today. We’ve got some virtual interviews set up and some in-person interviews.”

Rickert said the goal is to give students as close to a real interview experience as possible. Even though students came to the interviews in the gymnasium, they were encouraged to dress appropriately and to take the interview seriously and professionally. All students receive an evaluation report from their interviewer so they know what skills to work on for future interviews.

“We’re using all the reading, writing and thinking skills they’ll need in this real-world application,” said Rickert. “They know at some point they’ll have to have a job interview.”

This is the fourth year the high school has offered this experience for students. The virtual interview aspect was added during COVID and now, just like in the real world, it has become a regular fixture for many companies.

Senior Carsen Burbridge said he appreciated the experience. “It’s really like a practice run so you know kind of what to expect when you have a real interview for a job,” he said. “It helps set you up for your future and what an interviewer might ask.”

Burbridge said he was nervous before he began the interview. “Once I sat down and answered the first question, I felt a lot better about it,” he said. 


Jennifer Nikkel from Lacks was one of the interviewers for part of the day. “I think it’s awesome. It’s definitely good for the students to have this kind of real practice. For me it’s been an incredible experience too. I love seeing how they are engaging and just how much they’ve already accomplished,” she said.


Nikkel said all the students she interviewed did an outstanding job. She said some important tips to remember are to introduce yourself and shake hands with the interviewer and thank them when the interview is completed, make good eye contact, and maintain a positive body language. “Everyone did so well. I’m very impressed with the students I interviewed so far,” she said. 


Senior Elizabeth Mohr said having the practice was a great opportunity. “I just think it was really helpful. I was nervous but once I got started, I felt a lot better.”


Aldrich said he appreciates the companies and organizations who send interviewers to make this project possible. “There’s a lot of local support for this which is really great. So many of them say they are really glad we do this to help prepare students for real interviews in the future,” said Aldrich.


Companies participating in the mock interview process included Thornapple Credit Union, Bradford White, McKeown & Kraai Accounting, Barry County Road Commission, Steelcase, Village of Middleville, Barry Community Foundation, McGuirk Excavating, Barry County Community Mental Health Authority, Accenture, Maserati of North America, United Way of Barry County, Hastings Mutual, MRC Industries, Lacks Industries, Plant with Purpose, and Bastian Solutions.