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Students Embrace Challenge of Interview Practicum

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Mark Lozano (right), a TSTC Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology student, discusses his job qualifications with Anna Putegnat, talent acquisition and staffing specialist for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, during a recent TSTC Career Services Interview Practicum.  (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)
Mark Lozano (right), a TSTC Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology student, discusses his job qualifications with Anna Putegnat, talent acquisition and staffing specialist for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, during a recent TSTC Career Services Interview Practicum. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

Texas Border Business

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HARLINGEN, Texas – Texas State Technical College students who are close to graduation understand that preparing for a real-life interview is paramount to helping them land a dream job.

Recently more than 110 TSTC students, including Ruby Castillo and Mark Lozano, participated in an Interview Practicum presented at the Harlingen campus by TSTC’s Career Services department.

The mock-interview event focused on three rounds of 20-minute practice interviews, with a different interviewer/coach for each round.

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Students from programs including Automotive Technology, Education and Training, Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology, LVN to RN Transition Nursing, Mechatronics Technology and Surgical Technology presented their resumes and cover letters, and greeted area business and industry representatives who served as interviewers/coaches.

Castillo, a Mechatronics Technology student from Harlingen, had requested help with resume writing and a practice interview from the Career Services department prior to the event.

“Their team polished my resume and provided interview tips, such as communicating with technical words and speaking highly about my job qualifications,” she said.

Castillo said the Interview Practicum experience was beneficial.

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“My interviews improved through each round,” she said.

Melissa Morman, TSTC’s assistant director of internal operations in Career Services, said it was gratifying to see so many eloquent, well-spoken and confident students.

“Ruby’s confidence, team-player attitude and humble nature shined, which made her ready for a professional interview,” she said. “Each student I interviewed conveyed the proper language, the authority to give the right answers, and the program support they have received at TSTC.”

Lozano, of La Feria, is an Electrical Lineworker student who is on track to graduate in December. He also requested the resume writing service prior to the Interview Practicum.

“(They) found an example of a lineworker’s job duties that I felt best suited me and reworked my resume,” he said.

Lozano said he was impressed with the Interview Practicum’s process.

“The interviewers gave feedback, such as to talk more about myself, (give) details about my job experience, give eye contact and demonstrate confidence,” he said. “I know I’ll be successful in a real-life job interview by following that advice.”

Anna Putegnat, talent acquisition and staffing specialist for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, said it was a pleasure to be a returning interviewer.

“Mr. Lozano was professional by greeting me and presenting his detailed resume,” she said. “He has a natural way of providing an answer with the scenario, the action that was taken and result that was achieved.”

Putegnat said it is important that an interviewee be prepared to give reasons why they would like to work at a particular company and connect that with the company’s history when asked by the interviewer why they should be hired.

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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