Yesterday I spent a full day at Bradford University School of Management where, along with many other employers representatives and consultants I conducted a series of “mock interviews” of students in the second year of their undergraduate degree course.
The interviews are part of a comprehensive career module that all students undertake to prepare them for the transition into employment and form a key part of the universities “employability strategy.”
Each interview is scheduled to last approximately 20 minutes and is focused around a key set of question including competency-based questions. After which, the candidate is asked to do a self – assessment of their performance before receiving constructive critical feedback from the interviewer.
The students are briefed by their tutors in advance and told to treat it as a formal interview and dress “appropriately” for a business interview.
The attendance level of the students was down on the previous year and this is made up of some being ill, possible travel problems but more likely panic at the thought of being formally interviewed and realizing that they had not done any real preparation.
Of the six students I interviewed the overall standard was reasonably good with two outstanding performers, both young women, one of who was Rumanian and whose spoken English was faultless. Both of these young women handled all the questions well and I had no doubt they would acquit themselves well when it came to being formally interviewed for jobs.
The most amusing person was a young man who turned up in skinny leg black trousers (I will give him the benefit of the doubt that they were not jeans), open neck shirt and waistcoat. Around his waist was a black belt with the biggest buckle I have even seen………a sort of stained glass window effect.
When I raised the appropriateness of his dress and the buckle in particular he responded by saying “that buckle cost me a lot of money off the internet”………I suggested that for clubbing it was fine but NOT for a formal job interview.
I find these days working with students both challenging and stimulating and the Careers and Academic staff at the School of Management should be congratulated for organising such positive experiences for students, and also involving interviewers from the public, private and consultancy sectors which can only be of benefit to the students.