I remember sitting uncomfortably on the other side of that desk wanting to be anywhere else in the world. However looking back it is clear how important it was to get that first awkward interview scenario under the belt.
St Patrick’s RC High School recently hosted a varied group of professionals to conduct mock interviews for their year 11 students, I was lucky enough to be invited. Straight away I was welcomed by the lovely members of staff who were ready to help in any way they could.
The morning would consist of students coming in one after the other and getting, for most of them at least, their first taste of an interview situation. During the day I met different types of people wanting to do all sorts with their lives, from aspiring Bank Managers to Midwives in the making. Most had an idea of where they wanted to be long term and just needed a little guidance on how to express the reasons why. That’s where I came in. It was my responsibility to fine tune their interview etiquette and get them ready for the working world. I did so by telling them everything I look for day to day in a candidate and the importance of confidence.
A few of the students blew me away with their aspirations; they certainly had the tenacity to put an action plan in place but some lacked the experience or knowledge of how to get there. As a result, the advice I was able to offer based on my own personal schooling, university and employment experience, was warmly welcomed. I found it so inspiring to see the lengths these students were going to at such an early age to position themselves as best they could for their bright futures. Through extra curricular activities, background research and hours of hard work, some were already well on their way.
During the interviews I had my professional head on, to give the students the best feeling of what to expect from a typical interviewer in the coming months. Afterwards I offered some positive and constructive feedback to all those who I met with, paying a special attention to those students who lacked more confidence than most. It was important for me to show them that I was not a recruitment robot and that wherever they went they were simply sitting opposite another person. Being that it was my main purpose to advise, I ensured that I left each of the students with a question answered or a boosted ego.
On the whole the day was a huge success and I hope the students gained as much as I did from the experience. The importance of the day can’t be overlooked as it gives the students a practice run before they go into what can be an extremely stressful environment.
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