PATRICK MCAULEY ’20 | STAFF WRITER • For college students, the real world is right around the corner. Most (if not all) students have one goal upon graduation: to land a job. These days, however, ambitious, young, and hard-working talent fills the job market, making it hard for upcoming graduates to acquire that dream job. Here at Wabash, career services possess some additional oppositional firepower: mock interviews
Mock interviews build experience. These days, employers are extremely interested in what characteristics job applicants can bring to their companies. It’s a two-way street; they want to know if the applicant is the right fit for the job and vice versa. These interviews, therefore, allow students some breathing room to think about their skills. More importantly, it is a setting in which interviewees can learn from mistakes and apply them to future job interviews. Although, the best way to limit these mistakes is through preparation.
Proper planning could result in a successful interview. There are many aspects of developing a good knowledge base, either for yourself or the company, before heading into an interview. Firstly, it is imperative to do some homework on the company, which gives the interviewee a better understanding of its environment and workers.
Research shows the employer that the applicant has invested some time and care. Furthermore, the research should stem from the job requirements. Cassie Hagan, Assistant Director of Career Services, points out how each interview is different. “It depends on the position you are applying for,” she said. “You would prepare a lot differently for a case study at a consulting firm than you would for behavioral style interview.”
Questions are usually behavioral, which means employers want to get a sense of how the person approaches a problem or particular situation. The interviewer may ask to describe a time in which the applicant failed a task and further inquire to see how he or she recovered from the loss. These questions aim towards provoking the soft skills, which include communication and attitude. Often, these questions can be hard to respond to, but the STAR method can be a helpful tool.
The STAR Method is an organized approach. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. To begin, the interviewee needs to give an example of a situation. Next, he should state the goals he was working towards in that specific case. Lastly, the applicant needs to address the actions he took to accomplish the goals and then explain the result. This technical approach gives the employer a clear and detailed overview, further allowing him to see if the applicant will fit in with the company. This method could be the difference between a successful and failed interview session. Afterwards, nonetheless, there needs to be time for reflection.
Reflection leads to learning. Once an interviewee tackled the interview (successful or not), he or she must review. This process consists of writing down the questions and asking what was done well and needs more improvement. Identifying strengths and weaknesses is essential because there will always be time to improve before the next interview. Also, applicants should get into the habit of sending thank you cards via email or handwritten notes to show how they appreciate the employer taking the time to interview them.
Mock interviews are essential here at Wabash. Career services reiterate how they help students become more grounded and confident when applying for jobs, which could be the reason for eventually landing a job. Furthermore, career services periodically offer mock interviews with alumni throughout the school year. These meetings give students a way to connect with alumni while also improving their one on one skills. Career Services would like for students to be on the lookout for future emails with details on the mock interviews.