David Gonzalez, a TSTC Building Construction Technology student, discusses his job qualifications with Stephanie Florez, a career counselor and case manager for the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement in Mercedes, during a recent TSTC Career Services Interview Practicum.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – More than 40 Texas State Technical College students with their resumes and cover letters in hand greeted area business and industry representatives who served as interviewers/coaches at a recent Interview Practicum presented by TSTC’s Career Services department.

The event focused on preparing spring 2023 graduation candidates for real-life job interviews.

The Interview Practicum consisted of three rounds of 20-minute practice interviews, with a different interviewer/coach for each round.

Drake Everett, who is a TSTC Career Services representative, was the event’s project coordinator. He said the students were pleased with the event’s outcome.

“Our team observed facial reactions, body language and professionalism by each student,” he said. “This Interview Practicum is set up for students to craft their interviewing skills as they near program completion.”

Participating TSTC programs included Building Construction Technology, Dental Hygiene and Wind Energy Technology.

Martin Perez, of Harlingen, is studying for a certificate of completion in Wind Energy Technology. He said the event was helpful.

“The feedback I was given was to focus on professional and positive words,” he said. “I was asked, ‘How do you plan to keep up with the developments in your industry as you evolve professionally?’ I thought about how technology in the wind energy field is continuously changing and how to incorporate that in my response.”

Luz Gonzalez, of Harlingen, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene. The fourth-semester student said her interview experience was positive.

“I was informed that I’m well educated and have great confidence,” she said. “A tip that I can share is to have trust in your program instructors when preparing for this type of event. They are the professionals who are guiding us in our future career.”

Santa Gonzalez, senior talent acquisition and staffing specialist for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, said she was a returning interviewer for the event.

“I enjoyed mentoring the students from the various programs,” she said. “I offered feedback regarding their responses and ways to improve their resumes. Many of the individuals were well spoken, professionally dressed and well prepared.”

Armando Benavides, workforce outreach specialist for Workforce Solutions in McAllen, said he was impressed by the Interview Practicum.

“Many students came dressed for success and with the tools needed to make an impression,” he said. “A critique I suggested is that they introduce themselves by their full name. I also asked, ‘What else have you done in your past that can bring value to your interview?’ It’s important for the students to connect their past work history to the position when they discuss their qualifications.”

At each session’s conclusion, the students filled out an assessment questionnaire to rate themselves in areas such as appearance, leadership, resume writing and working with people.

The next Interview Practicum is scheduled for the summer semester.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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