2R7A7665 1 372x451 - TSTC Career Services Interview Practicum a success

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Career Services department recently held its first in-person Interview Practicum after holding them virtually for two years due to the pandemic.

The two-day event offered practice interview experiences for more than 100 TSTC students, who met with business representatives to discuss their job qualifications.

Every two-hour session had a 20-minute interview process, with a different coach through three interview rounds.

Drake Everett, a TSTC Career Services representative, was the event’s project manager. He said the event had a great turnout.

“For the Career Services department, our goal was for our students to have interviewing skills solidified before they graduate,” Everett said.

Kelly Guajardo, another TSTC Career Services representative, served as an interviewer.

“I met with two students and provided each with feedback,” she said. “Those critiques helped to sharpen their responses. The participation is what made this rewarding.”

Participating programs included Aircraft Powerplant Technology, Automotive Technology, Biomedical Equipment Technology, Building Construction Technology, Education and Training, Nursing and Vocational Nursing.

Johnny Degollado, of Harlingen, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing. He said the Interview Practicum provided him with valuable insight.

“I was informed that I had several nonverbal actions during an interview,” he said. “I was also told I had great confidence, composure and direct responses.”

Degollado said other critiques pertained to his resume.

“I was told a resume should reflect a five-year work history,” he said. “An added suggestion was to keep the layout consistent, such as fonts, areas that are bold and the alignment.”

Maria Reyes, of San Benito, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Airframe Technology. The first-semester student said the practice was beneficial.

“One of the suggestions was not to use my hands as many times when I speak,” she said. “I was complimented on my verbal communication.”

Anna Putegnat, talent acquisition and staffing specialist for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, said learning more about the students as an interviewer was captivating.

“I enjoyed listening to their stories and understanding their processes,” she said. “I instilled many interview skills and styles into their practice. As for feedback, I mentioned that most questions are a behavioral type. A great way to prepare for those is to have a scenario in mind, an action for that situation and the results achieved.”

Rolando Ramirez, assistant library director for the Harlingen Public Library, said it was an interactive experience to be an interviewer.

“I enjoyed engaging with the students and discussing areas where they can improve,” he said. “Based on feedback, I suggested that they have a resume, a cover letter, and a copy of their diploma or degree. Those documents will ensure an application is reviewed as priority. It also demonstrates that an interviewee is interested in the position.”

At each session’s conclusion, the students filled out an assessment questionnaire to rate themselves in areas such as technical skills, employability and appearance.

The next Interview Practicum is scheduled for the spring 2023 semester.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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