I attended today mock interviewing training for the 6th form at Westlands school. This was facilitated by CXK which is a charity that helps young people and adults to develop their skills, raise their aspirations and encourage them to reach their full potential.
The students were asked to produce a CV and apply for a position which they were then interviewed for. Although some of the pupils had applied for jobs in the past, for the majority this was the first time they had experienced actually being interviewed. It was the job of myself and other local business owners to give advice prior to the interview, actually carry out the interviews and then give some feedback afterwards.
To summarise, the advice I gave the students was as follows:
APPLYING FOR A POSITION
- Ensure your CV is very well presented with NO grammatical errors
- Include on your CV ALL your achievements no matter how small
- Make you CV interesting and sell yourself!
- Make sure the covering letter you send is targeted specifically at the Company who you are applying to
- If you are offered an interview, go the day before to introduce yourself. This will make your interview day a lot less stressful
AT THE INTERVIEW
- Never be late
- Try and be relaxed
- Be yourself
- Answer questions honestly
- Keep eye contact
- Dress smartly and for the occasion
- Sit up straight and look confident
- Don’t mumble
The feedback from all the interviewers was that the standard of the students was extremely high and although some were nervous beforehand they generally found the experience very helpful and realised that it was nowhere near as bad as they thought it would be!
What amazed me today was that writing CV’s, applying for jobs and interview techniques are not part of the school curriculum. As far as I know only three schools in the Swale area actually do what we did at Westlands today giving the students there a great advantage when it comes to looking for a job. I am not saying that they are all going to get the first job they apply for but at least they are going to be better prepared when they take their first step into the big world of employment out there!
I wish all the students I saw today the best of luck for the future.