Preparing for the workforce: MHS Academy of Finance students refine their interviewing skills in two-day workshop

A group of students and their teacher stand in the front of the classroom for a group photo.

Monticello High School students enrolled in the NAF Academy of Finance program are ready to enter the workforce thanks to a two-day mock interview workshop conducted by Jane Sorensen, NAF AOF Advisory Board Vice Chairperson.

The informative workshop began on Monday, April 22 with an interactive activity led by Ms. Sorensen. She asked students to break into groups to brainstorm what they thought a mock interview was and how to prepare for one. After each group shared their thoughts, Ms. Sorensen gave students a handout that contained information on mock interviewing, helpful tips and common interview questions.

Some students are standing and some are sitting at desks in a classroom. Everyone is looking forward.

Pivoting to the next activity, Ms. Sorensen tasked students with researching the organization she works for, Every Person Influences Children (EPIC). Students had to search EPIC’s website for its mission statement, vision, values and annual report. The goal was for students to understand the value of research in the interview process and how it can help build confidence and readiness skills.

Prior to the conclusion of day one, students were shown two videos – how to dress for an interview and what a professional interview experience looks like.

Three students sitting at a table looking at the camera. Papers and folders are the table.

On Monday, April 29, Ms. Sorensen returned to MHS to facilitate the second day of the workshop, which started with a brief review of day one. Similar to the previous activity, students were asked to research several large organizations, including Google, Apple, Morgan Stanley and IBM to find their mission statements, values, profit margins and annual reports.

The purpose of repeating this exercise was not only for students to apply what they learned, but for them to understand the value of preparedness. Researching an organization prior to an interview enables students to be equipped with facts and data about the company, thus showing confidence in themselves, ambition in wanting the job, and the ability to answer challenging questions.

Four students sitting together at a table. Three students are looking at the camera and smiling and the fourth student is writing on a piece of paper and looking down at the table.

The two-day workshop culminated with students participating in a mock interview for the organizations they researched previously. Working in teams of two, students were assigned the role of “job candidate” or “interviewer.” They responded to questions carefully and strategically, utilizing their newfound knowledge and the mock interview handout from day one. Students then switched roles to ensure everyone had the opportunity to be interviewed.

Two female students are interviewing each other. The student on the left is sitting in a chair and the student on the right is standing.

“The AOF mock interviewing workshops truly prepare students for the future. I’m glad I designed these workshops to help the AOF students gain the skill set of learning how to go on an interview and to be confident in themselves,” Ms. Sorensen said.

Lyndsey Kaplan, a NAF AOF student, also shared her thoughts on the experience, saying “I enjoyed the mock interview process on day two with a partner because it provided me with confidence to interview for an actual job. I found it interesting to see and understand the amount of proactivity and planning that should commence before entering the physical interview. I am grateful for the workshop and the information from it, which will help me to obtain future positions.”

A student is being interviewed by a teacher. Both are sitting at a table.