Mock interviews with industry managers prepare COM students for workforce

“You’ve been in school for a long time, tell me about a problem you’ve loved to solve.”

During mock interviews, professionals from ExxonMobil, Shell, Ineos and Marathon pose the questions that they would ask a potential hire to College of the Mainland process technology students.

The exercise aims to alleviate nerves as students’ take their ultimate exam – the job interview.
 
“The most intimidating part of applying for a job is the interview,” said student Yulenty Deal. “It’s good practice for us to get better.”
 
Deal, set to graduate in May, has already benefited from last year’s session. She aced her interview for a national Shell scholarship, becoming one of 30 students across the nation to receive the prestigious award.
 
“All the questions (in the scholarship interview), believe it or not,” she explained. “were from the mock interview.”
 
This is the fourth year of mock interviews.
 
“Many of these are the actual hiring managers, and they ask actual questions,” said Jerry Duncan. “We couldn’t do with without industry. It’s great preparation for students.”
 
As interviewers query students, they also coach.
 
Regina Cooper, of Marathon, advised, “Think of it like a movie – hit the highlights. Focus on strengths.”
 
The mock interviews, organized by COM instructor and retired BP employee Dennis Link, are just one way COM prepares graduates for the workforce and growing opportunities. COM graduates with technical degrees earn highest median first-year earnings of any new graduate in the state – $73,509.
 
COM students may apply for internships, leading to job offers before graduation. Students may also join the COM PTEC Club, for help with tutoring, finding books or understanding class work.
 
At mock interviews, besides advice, company representatives also offer encouragement about entering the industry.
 
“The pay’s good,” David Stryk, of Shell, told his interviewees. “You can go as far as you want to.”

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