Career Preparation // Professionalism

The purpose of this task is for students to demonstrate proficiency in a professional interview. This should be seen as an opportunity to practice demonstrate professionalism and interviewing. The purpose of a “mock” interview is to provide students with clear expectations for success and provide him/her with feedback prior to a “real” interview for a job, internship, etc.


Your task is to complete a mock-interview in a way that demonstrates both your professionalism and your employability. During this interview, you will be assessed using the attached rubric - this rubric will give you a sense of how to prepare for a successful interview.

Before you complete this task, you should have opportunities to learn about the characteristics of a successful professional internship, as well as have practiced your professional interview skills. Notes or feedback from any of the lessons below may help you prepare for your mock-interview:

  • “Tips for Professional Introduction”
  • “Questions, Questions, Questions”
  • “Interview Know-How”
  • “Interview Bloopers”
  • “Interview Practice”

If you have not completed any of the lessons above, review the attached handouts for tips and reminders about successful professional interviews.

Step 1: Preparation

If you have not already done so in previous lessons, review the attached rubric and become familiar with the characteristics of a successful professional interview that may help your secure employment in the future. Read over the “Proficient” and “Advanced” columns for each of the following areas:

Interview Content:

  • Oral Interaction
  • Self-Awareness


  • First Impression
  • Eye Contact/Attitude
  • Communication Skills
  • Appearance

With a partner discuss the following questions:

  • What are some of the major differences between an interview that is emerging/developing and one that is proficient/advanced?
  • Why do you think there is a distinction between “Interview Content” and “Professionalism?”

Can you answer the following questions about your mock-interview? If not, find out!:

  • When and where will my interview take place?
  • Who will I interview with? Do I need to know anything about a particular company/organization before the interview?
  • Do I need to do anything to document my interview (submit a picture, video, completed rubric, etc.)?
  • How should I dress? Do I have access to clothes that are professionally appropriate for this interview? How will I know if what I plan to wear is appropriate?
  • Should I bring a resume with me to the interview?
  • Should I have questions prepared to ask the interviewer?

Step 2: Complete and document your mock-interview

On the day of your interview remember to present your best professional self, but don’t forget to be yourself! Employers want to hire someone professional, but it’s also important that you are authentic to you, you don’t want to have to pretend to be someone you’re not.

Remember, this is an opportunity to learn and practice the skill of interviewing. Good luck!

Teacher Notes

Unit Culminating Task Prerequisites: The following lessons will help introduce understand how to successfully navigate a professional interview and/or give them an opportunity to practice prior to the assessed task below: Tips for Professional IntroductionQuestions, Questions, Questions (when revised); Interview Know-HowInterview Bloopers; and Interview PracticeDraft a Thank You Letter is a good extension lesson for this task.

Logistics: One of the biggest challenges for this task is determining what the assessable artifact will be for each student’s mock interview. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Technologically-heavy options:

    • If you have good audio recording capability (quiet space, mics, etc.), you could record an audio file of the mock-interview for the student to upload. However, you would also need a way to assess student dress and professionalism.
    • If the space is quiet enough to record clear audio, the interviewer, the student, or a peer of the student could video record the mock-interview using a smartphone or other handheld video camera.
    • If you have organized an event for many students to interview on the same day, you could set up a quiet, isolated space with a video team that could serve as a recording studio where each student could be scheduled for an individually filmed interview
  • Technologically-light options:

    • Have students upload a picture of themselves on the day of the mock-interview as evidence for the “Appearance” scoring domain of the mock-interview rubric. The interviewer will assess the other scoring domains of the rubric on-line or by hand (which could be transferred to a digital format after the mock-interview)
    • Have the interviewer score a student by hand using the mock-interview rubric, and provide hand-written notes that explain/justify the student’s score. The rubric assessment and notes can later be transferred on-line as a digital record of the student’s performance during the mock-interview

*Best Practices: Many Linked Learning districts and pathways have created experiences for students to engage in mock-interviews. Here are some best practices we’ve observed:

  • Utilize industry or community partners as the interviewers and scorers. Having an external adult will raise the stakes of this “mock” interview for students, provide authentic feedback from actual employers, and provide an opportunity to engage partners in the fabric of teaching and learning at your schools.
  • Practice, feedback, practice, feedback. This is a learned skill for anyone to do well, especially to perform at the proficient and advanced levels of the attached rubric. Students need lots of opportunities to practice, and lots of opportunities to receive feedback about his/her performance. Students at Health Professions High School (Sacramento) demonstrated peer feedback by working in triads to filming one another’s mock-interviews and provide one another with feedback aligned to the rubric.
  • Celebrate student strengths - Educators from Oakland Unified host an “Internship Readiness Fair” each spring for 11th grade students from across the district. Mock-interviews with industry partners are a central component of the readiness fair experience for students. However, the Oakland educators are clear to emphasize the importance of building student self-esteem during this experience, and underscore that this is a formative opportunity for students to learn and improve. Industry partners debrief the rubric assessment with students immediately after the mock interview and are asked to begin the conversation with what the student did well before moving on to how the student could improve in interviews in the future.
  • Utilize the mock-interview badge as a professional right of passage - Some districts are requiring students to successfully demonstrate proficiency on the mock-interview rubric to secure a paid summer internship. Motivation is high for students driven to secure an internship placement, and a proficient mock-interview demonstration reflects elements of the student’s readiness for a professional setting.

Return to Career Readiness
Additional lessons in Professionalism

Exchanging Business Cards

This activity introduces students to the purpose of business cards.

Design Your Business Card

This activity introduces students to ways to design and produce a business card.

Academy Card Group Design

This activity allows students to create a design for a business card that represents their academy.

Interview Know-How

This activity allows students to discuss and practice important elements of a good first impression.

Interview Bloopers Activity

This activity allows students to anticipate some commonly-asked interview questions and practice responses.

Interview Practice

This activity allows students to practice interview techniques in small groups.

From the Horse’s Mouth

This activity allows students to explore careers that they are interested in pursuing and to understand their skill set in the context of the careers that they want to pursue.

20 Questions Activity

This activity allows students to practice asking and answering difficult interview questions and practice offering succinct yet insightful responses to questions.

Speed Dating Networking Activity

This activity provides students with an an understanding of the concept of networking and allows them to practice networking in small groups.

Questions for a Mock-Interview

This activity allows students to learn and practice the skills to make a professional and favorable first impression.