Yeah, We Said That
Last week, an interview panel and myself finished well over 60 mock job interviews for our graduating seniors. I called it the “gift they’d appreciate later”. They probably called it something else. Hopefully something nice.
The set up was easy: have a CV, Cover Letter and mock job advert at the ready: you will only have 24 hours’ notice that your interview is coming up. Kinda like real life. Us adults know this – you can indeed be called in at the last minute for a job interview and if you are interested in the job, it’s probably best to say yes and show up when they want you to.
For the purpose of modern-day clarification, as we are a supportive bunch – our aim was gain, not maim! Pre-interview, students were provided with a list of do’s and don’ts (sample don’t: don’t try to reschedule and don’t be late) and had been given lessons on how to write CV’s and Cover Letters. But we wanted to provide a “real life” experience. So, we needed to be honest.
When they showed up late, we reminded them that this would be difficult to overcome in an interview – especially because the next candidate for that same job would not be late. If you “forgot” to come to your interview (thankfully only the smallest of handfuls), you were reminded that you would lose the opportunity full stop. If you were scheduled for an online interview and you suggested to us that your “WIFI wasn’t working properly” and that is why you didn’t show , we reminded you that the next person to be interviewed didn’t face that issue and would likely be hired over you. If you tried to reschedule, we told you it was best not to do that. We explained: people interviewing you are busy, and they are interviewing many candidates for the same position – getting the interview in the first place is half the battle won so don’t mess it up from the very beginning by making your interviewer’s job harder.
What else did we say? Comb your hair, wear better clothing (no, a shirt or a hoodie is not considered the new “nail your interview” look), look your interviewee in the eye, give concrete examples of why you are the best candidate for the position…….
What did we learn after all of those interviews? That a majority of students took it seriously. The very best of them came with professional looking CVs to discuss their professional skill set: why they were good communicators; how they used analytical skills…. They could discuss how previous work and school experiences had taught them how to solve problems; they could be very articulate (one of them used the words: “I will be an asset to the organization”). They looked us in the eye and answered tough, sometimes random questions that we put in front of them to test their mettle.
A few years from now, when they are interviewing for a “real” job, I hope they look back and remember “those people in my High School back in Dubai, they made us do this” and do a mental thank you in their head. You’re welcome.
Mrs. Amber Singh