Mock Interview Day Perspectives

By Ann Couyoumjian, Richard Grieves, and Jane Miloch

The Mock Interview Unit of Study allows high school students enrolled in the Reading and Writing for the College Bound English 12 class in South Lyon (Michigan) Community Schools (SLCS) an opportunity to create a resume, research careers, develop interpersonal communication skills, and gain interview experience. Mock Interview Day provides an occasion to improve their interview performance. Instructors and career development facilitators in the school oversee this event that supports the future of these students. “In 43 years of teaching,” Grieves, the unit instructor, states, “I have not found a more useful unit for our graduating seniors’ next chapter”.

A closer look at the Michigan K-12 Standards for College and Career Readiness demonstrates the usefulness of Mock Interview Day. This unit of study directly meets the Speaking, Listening Language and Conventions of Standard English standards (Michigan Department of Education, 2011). In addition to students rehearsing best interview response strategies, students are required to compile an engaging digital career portfolio which shares each student’s individual story showcasing their skills, talents, experiences and accomplishments.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, most people will change careers multiple times in their lifetime. (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022). The practice gained through mock interviewing helps build student confidence and abate interview stress. Nervousness is expected in an interview; however, practice and experience improve interviewing acumen. Students receive constructive feedback from mock interviews, enabling them to adjust and hone their skills. Learning and forming solid interview techniques, research strategies, habits, skills, and practice pays off, throughout one’s career.

Mock Interview Day Preparation

The Mock Interview Unit begins in January. To be able to be more conversant, students conduct research on careers to solidify their post-secondary plan, considering their strengths, interests, experiences, personality, knowledge, aptitude, and goals in their quest for a good career fit in the short term. With the English teacher’s instruction, students write and revise essays, resumes, and digital portfolios, practice interviewing multiple times, and research their career path.

Career development facilitators work with classroom teachers to facilitate this unit by organizing the assessment, encouraging and educating students, and incorporating feedback for unit improvement. These individuals are employed by the school district to assist students with their career planning, guide students in their Educational Development Plan updates each year, and plan career-related events for 9th-12th grade students.

Mock Interview Day Procedures

Once the Mock Interview Day date has been set, the challenge to secure volunteers begins. Students are matched as closely as possible to interviewers who are in careers similar to their research project, providing students not only with an opportunity to practice their interviewing skills, but also allowing them to connect with potential mentors for employment possibilities.

Volunteers are recruited two to four months in advance of the event. The number of students determines how many volunteers are needed. Each student interviews with two industry representatives, with each of the two interviews having two different sets of questions. A Google Form requesting volunteer information and availability streamlines the process. The form is shared in the high school newsletter, the district newsletter, and by Reading and Writing for the College Bound staff. Parents and community members make up most of the mock interviewers. Administration and school board members also lend a hand- connecting with the students is a favorite part of their school year.

Immediately after signing up, volunteers receive email confirmation of their commitment. Two weeks in advance of the event the following information is shared with interviewers:

  • Location specifics
  • Detailed check-in procedures
  • Interview Questions
  • Rubric for assessment
  • Explanation of expectations
  • Schedule for the event including:
    • Length of interviews
    • Names of students each interviewer will interview with each student’s career pathway noted
    • Resumes for each of the students the interviewers will be interviewing (optional)

A reminder email is sent one week before the event and a final email a day or two before the event to remind interviewers about Mock Interview Day. Interviewers are asked to arrive 15 minutes early for a brief 10-minute verbal overview of the event. Light refreshments and lunch are provided as a way to enhance the experience for volunteers.

Istock 1408599977 Credit Valeriy G

The Big Day

Hearts pumping and dressed for success, seniors in high school await their first interview on Mock Interview Day. Typically, each interviewer meets with 3-4 students in an hour-long class period. This allows for 12–15-minute interviews. All questions are provided for the interviewers; however, if time allows, interviewers are encouraged to engage in further career conversations with students. Student evaluations are based on responses to questions on the interview rubric form, student’s resume, non-verbal performance such as maintaining eye contact during the interview, student’s introduction, and professionalism.

Students write a personal thank you note to each of their interviewers as a post-event activity. Notes are reviewed by the classroom teacher prior to distribution to interviewers. Students and interviewers complete a short post-event feedback form. Information shared helps facilitate improvements for the following year’s Mock Interview Day.

Making a Difference in Students’ Futures

Students work hard to prepare for Mock Interview Day and serve as model school district representatives on the day of the event. Volunteers from industry make this event possible, positive, and meaningful for students. Feedback from this event continues to confirm the importance and value of Mock Interview Day, specifically the learning the students demonstrated throughout the day. Elizabeta Ilich, co-owner of Express Employment Professionals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and returning interviewer for SLCS, made the following LinkedIn post after participating in Mock Interview Day in May 2023, “I had the honor in participating in #mockinterviews for Reading and Writing for the College Bound class at South Lyon Community Schools. I am always impressed by these students with their drive and confidence. I don’t think I could have done this when I was 17/18!” (Ilich, 2023). Consistent positive feedback each year from interviewers and interviewees in post-event surveys confirm that Mock Interview Day makes a difference!



Ilich, E. (2023, May 17). MBA. LinkedIn. Retrieved November 2, 2023, from https://www.linkedin.com/feed/hashtag/?keywords=mockinterviews&highlightedUpdateUrns=urn%3Ali%3Aactivity%3A7066413751310168064

Michigan Department of Education. (2011). Michigan K-12 Standards: English Language Arts.  Retrieved November 2, 2023, from https://www.michigan.gov/-/media/Project/Websites/mde/Literacy/Content-Standards/ELA_Standards.pdf?rev=0f76588bc2bd48f89165484fa35d2b31

U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022). Employee Tenure in 2022. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/tenure.pdf


Ann CouyoumjianAnn Couyoumjian, M.A., is a high school Career Development Facilitator in South Lyon, Michigan. Ann has over 25 years of experience in education in various Pre-K through college positions. She experienced marketing and management positions in her previous business career. Ann finds inspiration helping students with their career development, encouraging students in their ongoing reflective practice to realize and further develop their interests, abilities, and values, and find purposeful pursuits. Ann holds a M.A. in Education, B.S. in Education, and B.S. in Business Administration. She can be reached at couyoumjiana@slcs.us


Richard GrievesRichard Grieves. A high school teacher and former department chair of English, Latin, and History since 1981, Richard Grieves has taught every high school course, remedial through AP Level, in all three of those departments. He is co-author or author of several district assessments and was an editor for the ELA Benchmarks for the State of Michigan. A proud CMU Chippewa, Richard holds a B.A. in English, Sociology, and Latin, with extensive graduate work in English. His credo: LABOR! (Let Achievement Be Our Reward!). He may be reached at grievesr@slcs.us



Jane MilochJane Miloch, is a high school Career Development Facilitator in South Lyon, Michigan. Jane was the first Career Development Facilitator in the district and has grown the program for the past 22 years. Prior to her current role, Jane worked in Sales, Marketing, and customer service, giving her many of the tools needed to assist students and staff with a variety of career readiness activities. Jane finds working with students individually, providing career exploration opportunities and encouraging students to be the most rewarding career she could have chosen. Jane studied Interpersonal and Public Communications, Marketing and Psychology at Central Michigan University, earning her a Bachelor of Science degree. She can be reached at milochj@slcs.us

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China Yang   on Thursday 05/30/2024 at 10:58 AM

I didn't have my first formal interview until my freshman year of college and I had no idea how to prepare for it. Thankfully, my college offered interviewee services that assisted me in resume building and mock interviewing. However, if these resources are provided at a college level, how come they aren't provided at a secondary level daily? Preparing our students for the future is extremely important, especially after the pandemic. I find it even more challenging for students to communicate professionally and efficiently due to not being in school for 2 years.

Grace Cormier   on Friday 05/31/2024 at 01:23 PM

Networking is an important skill for a school counselor and creating a foundation of career development and understanding is essential for all professions. Allowing students to participate in Mock Interview Day create positive relationships between professionals and students. In turn, this expands the students professional world and will further assist them as they look for role models in their future career paths.

Justine C.    on Saturday 06/01/2024 at 07:43 AM

Thank you for this article and bringing to light that high schools in the United States are preparing their seniors for job and college interviews. What I appreciate most with this project is the self-reflection piece of preparing for Mock Interview Day. Many students of this age group are still in the process of understanding who they are as individuals, therefore this is a power lesson in self-discovery as well as interpersonal communications. Personally, I have a rising junior in high school who is on the road to self-awareness and discovery as he finds his place as an upperclassman.
To have a day dedicated to students as they prepare for the interview process where they have an opportunity to explain "out loud" who they are as individuals would give them permission dive deep into the process of understanding their strengths, accomplishments and where they reflect on personal improvement and growth. Mock Interview Day is an opportunity for the student to realize their value, worth and where there is opportunity to grow and develop as an individual.

Micol Striuli   on Sunday 06/02/2024 at 12:12 PM

Very cool and interactive approach! I enjoyed learning about this model as I never received any sort of interview coaching at my school growing up. Having students connect with people in the field they want to work in is a great way for students to learn more about their potential future careers. This sounds like a great way to build community and to help student strengthen their skills, all of which is important work that counselors should strive to achieve.

Korrie L.   on Sunday 06/02/2024 at 07:17 PM

This is an awesome and interactive way to address this skill. Honestly, I wish I could have done this when I was in high school! Interviewing skills and networking skills will help students significantly in their future work in finding a job. What I find most valuable is that each student gets to work on this in a field that they plan to enter post-high school. Another is that the school takes the time to find volunteers that match those of the students' interests. This is extremely valuable as they can get direct feedback from those who matter most out in the real world versus their teacher, who they see every day.

Marcela Garces   on Monday 06/03/2024 at 12:31 PM

What a great idea. Our school incorporated the concept of interviews during our advisory period. They do not, however, dedicate an entire unit to mock interviews. This is a great idea. As a veteran teacher, I can tell you that many students struggle with any presentation in the classroom. I have 2-3 per year. A unit dedicated to mock interviews would be highly beneficial to all students, especially seniors who are en route to their future positions. Thank you!

Leah Abbate   on Monday 06/03/2024 at 01:03 PM

Mock Interview Day sounds like it provides an extremely valuable experience for students that will have a lasting impact on their future. Many times, senior portfolio projects do not provide real-life experiences for students. Not only does this unit provide opportunities to gain skills in resume building, career research, communication, and interviewing, but it also helps students to gain confidence and network with others in the community. It sounds like this type of program of study would benefit many students if implemented in schools.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.