TSTC enhances soft skills with interview practicum

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Career Services department at Texas State Technical College recently hosted its Interview Practicum, an annual tradition that prepares soon-to-be graduates for job interviews.

In line with TSTC’s mission of placing more Texans into great paying jobs, the two-day event brought industry partners, community members and TSTC faculty and staff together to conduct mock interviews.  

“Our interview practicum has grown so much over the years,” said TSTC Career Services Director Viviana Espinosa. “It’s popular among our faculty and students, so each practicum has expanded into more than one day.”

Interview Practicum is also hosted in the fall semester and has extended into a three-day event due to its popularity.

This year more than 100 students participated and more than 320 mock interviews were conducted.TSTC Interview Practicum

Each interview includes three, 20-minute rounds in which the student is required to dress to impress, submit a resume and answer questions as if it were an actual interview with an employer.

At the end of each round the student is given feedback on strengths and weaknesses and advice on how to improve their interview skills.

Rudy Piñon, who will be graduating from the Auto Collision & Management Technology program this semester, had a lot to reflect on after the interview practicum. 

“I’ve received great feedback from my interview coaches, even making me think back about past interviews and what I could have done differently,” said the 19-year-old. “This is an amazing opportunity that TSTC has given us and I’m ready to conquer interviews and start my career.”

Jazlyn Roque, who is a first-semester student in Auto Collision & Management Technology, said she is thankful that even though she isn’t graduating yet, she was still able to take part in the event.

“It’s never too early to polish your interview skills,” she said. “By the time I know it, I’ll be getting ready to graduate and start my career too. So this event has been a great experience.”

The Mission native said she already feels more confident with the interview process after this year’s event, and looks forward to attending other practicums throughout her college career.

Espinosa said the idea behind interview practicums is to help students gain the confidence they need to have a successful interview and get the job they want.

“When we hear that students are leaving more confident than when they arrived and their nerves have lessened, then we know that our event was a success,” she said. “And many here are industry partners so these students leave with no doubts as to what employers are expecting.”

She added that soft skills is something employers say job candidates, in general lack, and TSTC is working diligently to change that and ensure that college graduates can ace their interviews.

“Not only are we training our students with technical skills, but also soft skills that are vital to success after college,” she said. “So TSTC is meeting industry demands all the way around.”

Registration for Spring 2020 begins November 11. For more information, visit https://tstc.edu.