Mock Job Interviews in Prison to Help Men Prepare for Success
“Our goal is to help these men find employment when they return to society,” says Keyla Williams who is the re-entry coordinator for the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville, Mississippi. She oversees the effort to prepare men who are soon to be released for the world that awaits them.
“They’ve learned workforce skills, financial literacy, life skills, all the tools that will be beneficial for them to live a productive life.”
Part of that multi-faceted approach to re-entry preparation is to get them ready for job interviews.
“Today we’re doing mock job interviews,” Ms. Williams explains about a recent activity she and her team conducted at the facility. “This is an excellent opportunity for these men to use the skills they’ve learned during the re-entry process.”
Emma Taplin is the facility’s compliance coordinator, who helped out with this event.
“So, what we’re doing here today is preparing offenders who are in the process of being released to go out into society and be prepared to interview for jobs. This experience will allow them to get that experience and ensure that they can go forward in their lives in the interview process.”
These re-entry efforts made by Ms. Williams, Ms. Taplin, and the rest of the staff at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility extend to the community. Pastor Adrian Fairchild, one of the facility’s volunteer chaplains, coordinates clothing and other essential items donated by his congregation to help the men who are being released.
He says, “I love working with these guys, and it is an essential part of the ministry to provide for them when they are being released.”
These efforts are met with appreciation by the soon-to-be released men. Lavares Easley is one of the participants.
“The re-entry program gave me the opportunity,” he says, “to get acquainted with what is going on in the world.”
So, how effective was the mock interview activity? Another of the participants, Joe Conley, was released from the facility not long after the exercise. Using the skills he learned in the re-entry program, he was able to land a job he loves. He called the facility to thank Ms. Williams and her team, stating,
“I’m going to work hard and stay on track.”
As time goes on, others will join Joe Conley in his success, as their turn comes around to be released. Activities like conducting mock interviews help them keep a positive mindset.
“Today was a great experience,” Lavares Easley sums up. “It will help me get a job once I’m [back in my community].”