In my professional career, I have sweated through my fair share of job interviews. I have also frequently sat on the other side and helped to interview candidates as well. Even with this experience from both angles, I still have a lot to learn. The incentive to continue to educate myself on this skill is high, cause come on, I think we all know that the ticket to the next step in our professional careers is through the perfect job interview.
Today I had the opportunity to both improve my interview skills and to sharpen those of someone else. I was asked to help out with an interviewing event put on by our Career Services department here at Coastal Carolina University. Staff members here at CCU and professionals off campus were made available to our students who wanted to complete mock interviews.
I interviewed a freshman female. I was given a sheet of questions to ask but we were told we could go off script. After thinking I would stick with what was already written, I did the latter.
Now you might wonder what I could possibly learn about the art of interviewing by talking with a student who just started college. But hold off for one second, let’s start with the priority. It shows superb motivation and real guts for a FRESHMAN to show up to a mock interview session. For her to put herself out there in front of professionals at her age is definitely not something I would have done when I was 18. She exposed herself to how real life interviews are conducted and she experienced how you must think critically on your feet. Trust me, I didn’t hold back on the questions. When she graduates in 2019, she is going to be a pro when a prospective employer interviews her.
Whenever I sit in on an interview, I try to take a positive from the approach of the candidate. Even if they did not perform well, I try to note something that I could possibly use myself down the road. When I interview younger people, like the student I talked with today, I am always reminded of a crucial component that any candidate must have: humility.
Whether you are a finalist for a CEO position or just trying to get your first job out of college, it is important to demonstrate humility during the interview process. From the opinions of people on the hiring committees that I have served on and from my own personal criteria, nothing is worse than a candidate who is arrogant. However, is it possible that even down to earth folks like you and I could come across in interviews as a little cocky? Of course!
This is why it is beneficial to interview young people. Most students who walk into interviews know a few sobering facts about their resume: they don’t have experience, they don’t have a degree, and they don’t have many accomplishments. Knowing this, most young people are modest, almost to a fault. Many compensate for their lack of credentials with an overabundance of respect, politeness, and self-deprecation. Don’t get me wrong, it would be a disaster for someone trying to make the next move in their career to sell themselves short and basically go in with no edge whatsoever. However, the general theme of humility that is characteristic of an interview involving a college sophomore is something we can all take away.
I took an hour off work today to throw hypothetical questions at someone who has been in college for three months. Waste of time? No. We both walked out having bettered ourselves. Don’t Blink.