During individual supervision and interaction, staff of the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) school social work department recognized that their interns felt great anxiety before professional interviews due to lack of prior experience. It was then that the Clinical Grant Facilitator felt that a mock interview would be advantageous with assisting the candidate in learning how to respond to challenging questions, developing interview strategies, improving communication skills, and reducing stress before an actual job interview.
Mock Interview Rubric Development
In collaboration with department social work colleagues (who volunteered to provide support through this process), the Clinical Grant Facilitator created interview questions derived from several credible sources (including www.thebalancecareers.com) and personal experiences with prior interns. Once the rubric was approved and finalized by BCPS school social work leadership, a copy of the rubric was provided to interviewers (school social workers and colleagues) who identified interested in supporting this process. The Clinical Grant Facilitator met with colleagues to allow ample time for scheduling and notice.
The department now conducts mock interviews towards the end of graduate students’ internship experiences to help interns gain confidence in their interviewing skills. The questions asked reference communication skills, self-awareness, leadership, and ensure that they have researched their potential employers. These mock interviews ultimately provide a safe setting for interviewees to make mistakes and work on correcting them.
Follow Up Interviews
BCPS’ Clinical Grant Facilitator and interviewer (time permitting) conduct follow-up interviews with the interns one week later to share additional feedback. The intern is provided a copy of the rubric from which the interviewer has rated the intern’s appearance, greeting and professionalism, communication, and body language. Providing a copy of the rubric helps facilitate a more productive conversation guided by the rubric’s indicators.
Overall feedback from the mock interviews has been very positive. Interns remarked that the mock interviews helped them learn how to answer difficult questions, develop interview strategies, improve their communication skills, and feel more prepared before an actual job interview. The most prominent feedback from the interns is that the mock interviews taught them how to focus on connecting with the interviewer rather than struggling to come up with responses.
For more information about Broward County Public Schools’ Collaborative Internships for All program, please visit here.