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Interviewing Skills

May 24, 2019

By Alexandra Barton

DOC Communications

(Alexandra Barton, DOC Communications)

For the past few years, Correctional Industries (CI) has given those approaching their release date the chance to practice their interview skills, while also networking with employers during a mock interview event. Correctional Industries is the division of the Department of Corrections that provides opportunities for training and employment to the incarcerated population.

Employers Jon Bersche from the City of Seattle and Gary Schmitt from Sound Transit, said that this process is just as beneficial for them as it is for the participants.

Both employers give constructive advice to the participants that they can use to better their chance for a successful reentry.

Charles Bell, a participant in the mock interviews, is very thankful to those who take the time to create events like this. He believes the life skills he has learned can be put to good use upon his return to the community.

“It’s (mock interviews) an invaluable tool and lesson for me,” Bell said. “But, also the encouragement helps a lot because we're sitting here not knowing if what we’ve learned is going to work.”

Mock interview events like this help the department in its mission to improve public safety. Providing opportunities for incarcerated individuals to learn interview skills can increase their chances of finding work upon their reentry back into the community and reduce recidivism. Bell feels more ready than ever to return to his community.

“It feels great,” Bell said. “There’s no anxiety. There is the ‘I can’t wait’ type of anxiousness that comes with it. I’m really excited, honestly, to just be normal again.”