Inmates Participate in Mock Job Interviews
From White River Current – Publication Date: March 1, 2018
Inmates at the ADC North Central Unit (NCU) enrolled in the Think Legacy re-entry program recently participated in mock job interviews. Preparing for and practicing job interviews is one component of a comprehensive Job Search Skills Training program developed and delivered by White River Current co-publisher Rich Fischer of Calico Rock.
Think Legacy includes a variety of programs on a number of different topics with the aim of positioning inmates for success upon release. The 13 week Job Search Skills Training program, one of those encompassed within Think Legacy, consists of three modules: Resume Creation (5 wks), Job Interviewing (5 wks) and Targeting Potential Employers & Networking (3 wks). This year marks the third year that Fischer has delivered the training program at the NCU.
“Conducting mock job interviews was not originally part of the training when first designed,” commented Fischer. “It was added in response to inmate feedback and requests, and I must say has been a resounding success.” Figuring out the logistics of just how to conduct practice interviews with 50 inmates in a room presented a challenge, however with some thought and support from the NCU staff it was made to happen.
The mock interviews involve panels of three or four interviewers who then are joined by an inmate interviewee who responds to some of the top ten questions normally asked as well as questions the panel develops based on a review of the inmate’s resume and/or the type of job for which he is applying. Guest, non-inmate interviewers are also included on each panel when possible, many of whom are volunteers from the community.
Following each interview the panel then offers feedback and constructive criticism to the inmate interviewee aimed at providing them with ways in which they might improve their answers and overall interviewing skills. Such things as maintaining eye contact, awareness of one’s body language and keeping answers short and to the point are often points of feedback offered by the panel.
“From what I can tell, the main reason these men come back into the system after being released is their inability to get a good job,” concluded Fischer. “What this program attempts to do is to provide inmates with the tools and skills to be successful in their job search such that they can become contributing members of society.”
Anyone wishing to learn more about the Think Legacy program or how they might volunteer is encouraged to contact program coordinator, Cprl Onnafay Downard at the North Central Unit at 870-297-4311.
Photos/Narrative by Rich Fischer
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McPherson Unit Resource and Reunification Fair
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Tucker Unit Resource and Reunification Fair
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Veteran's Resource Fair held at Ester Unit
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