By Debbie Gregory.
The job interview is where a job is won or lost. But interviews are usually very stressful. They can be particularly daunting for veterans with Post-traumatic stress. But a virtual-reality interview simulator may be the answer to increasing a military veteran’s chances of landing a job.
Originally developed to help train FBI agents on interviewing skills, SIMmersion’s “Job Interview Training with Molly Porter” is a computer program that features an actress who reads carefully crafted questions and responses.
A Northwestern University study focused on veterans. Northwestern researcher Matt Smith believes that veterans often struggle in the interview phase of job hunting, and wanted to find out if the simulator would increase their success rates. He said the results were striking.
“Our trainees were about twice as likely to get job offers as those who didn’t use the platform,” Smith said.
The simulator had been adjusted as an interview trainer for veteran job candidates, but other versions can be tailored to people with: Autism Spectrum Disorder, criminal backgrounds, first time workers, hidden disabilities, mental illnesses, physical disabilities, poor work history, spinal cord injuries or substance abuse issues.
Molly Porter appears onscreen as a human resources executive and asks questions calibrated to the interviewee’s resume. When Molly asks a question, the respondent has a wide range of possible answers, just like in real life. Molly remembers what they’ve said, and shapes the interview. No two interviews will ever be exactly alike.
“She might say: ‘I see you have a gap in your employment history. Can you talk about that?’” Smith said.
Interviewing with Molly allows the user to practice skills and learn from common mistakes in a safe, private format. An on-screen coach offers feedback on everything that is said during the conversation, and a detailed score at the end of each interview helps to identify where to focus for next time. The user also receives a series of potential answers, some better than others. This allows them to learn which answers are better and to practice the good ones.
In some cases, Molly Porter might ask an illegal question, perhaps asking a trainee if they ever have been treated for a mental illness. This gives the trainee the chance to practice handling this situation, Smith said.
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Simulator Assists Veterans With Job Interviews: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory