As winter term wraps up and students find themselves tangled up in internship and job searches, “Mock Interview March” helps to alleviate anxieties.
Mock interviews allow students to practice sharing their stories and experiences with prospective employers in a low-stakes setting and when the interview’s over, to get feedback on their performance from a friendly face.
Graduate Career Services (GCS) has been facilitating mock interviews between students and alumni for years, but this year, they are taking a different approach.
In preparation for “Mock Interview March,” GCS reached out to alumni who had agreed to conduct mock interviews in the past, then shared their bios with students. Students matched with alumni based on their professional interests and signed up for interview slots.
“It’s a better system because it gives students ownership over the process and they can identify their needs,” says alumni relations manager, Elisabeth Johnston.
This year, 19 alumni offered to conduct mock interviews with one to two students and 21 students signed up to participate.
For Lee Taylor-Penn (MPA/MPH ’17), the experience helped to shed light on her interview strengths and weaknesses. “The alumna I was paired with asked challenging questions and offered insightful feedback, which I have already incorporated into summer internship interviews," says Taylor-Penn. "I'm grateful for Ford School alumni who are willing to mentor current students!”
Students and alumni receive a survey following the interview in order to provide feedback on both the interview and the process. Students are encouraged to reflect on their performance in the interview and are asked to provide feedback on the mock interview, as well. Alumni are asked to rate the student’s level of preparation, communication skills, interview answers, and more.
“It doesn’t end at the mock interview,” says Johnston, who hopes that the feedback forms will help to identify the resources students need to succeed. Going forward, Johnston and colleagues will develop targeted lessons for students in areas of weakness.