At KIPP Indy our goal is to help our students and alumni develop the knowledge, skills, and character strengths they need to succeed throughout their education and in the competitive world beyond. One way that we provide this opportunity to students is through our annual Mock Interview Day, organized through the KIPP Through College (KTC) program, which supports all of our students and alumni on their path to and through college.
During Mock Interview Day, volunteers have the opportunity to conduct mock interviews with our 7th grade students. Every 7th grade student participates in two interviews, giving them the opportunity to interact with adults from the community in a formal interview environment and practice their communication skills.
Katie Johnson, a KTC counselor, leads the organization of this event for our students. “This event helps prepare our students for all types of interviews, including work and the individual high school placement interviews that all of our students complete in 8th grade. By giving our 7th graders the opportunity to practice their interview skills, it builds their confidence for when they have to do it for real and for when they are in other professional settings.”
One aspect of Mock Interview Day that makes it truly special is the inclusion of community and business leaders from Indianapolis as interviewers. When asked why KTC looks for volunteers from the community rather than just having teachers conduct the interviews, she said, “By engaging members of our community rather than teachers, it creates a more authentic interviewing experience. This lets our students know that there are professionals in our community that look like them and are successful while also letting them know that the community supports them and wants to be a part of their success.”
But Katie and KTC also believe that the community members that participate in Mock Interview Day stand to take something away from the experience as well. “After several years of not only participating in but hosting this event, it is safe to say that our community members leave Mock Interview Day knowing that KIPP Indy students are intelligent and mature young professionals.” Beyond just leaving with that understanding, Katie also said that so many of the volunteers enjoyed their experience with Mock Interview Day that they continue to come back to volunteer at other events in our schools.
Going forward, Katie and the KTC team will continue to engage the community in other events, such as career days where professionals are able to talk about their careers with our students and what it takes to be successful in that field. “Engaging community members is important for our students and alumni as it gets them to not only start thinking about their future careers, but start working towards them.”