How many of you remember your first job interview?

Recently, I was invited to Largs Academy along with several other business owners to meet with some of the pupils from the class of 4C1 to conduct mock one-to-one interviews with them.

For most of the pupils they have never experienced what it’s like to sit in front of a prospective employer. Initiatives like these, led by Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and North Ayrshire Council, are designed to give them an idea of what to expect and how best to be prepared for an interview. All of them were nervous (including me, ha) and I could feel their tension. It’s been a long time since I sat on the other side of the interview table so I tried really hard to put myself in their shoes and give them some positive encouragement and tips on what to expect during the process.

From my experience, the school environment is far different from how I remember it and seems much more conducive to learning and I was delighted to be asked to take part in this project. We were shown to the library and instructed to “set up” our own interview seating arrangement and conduct it as we wished. Each of the pupils were rated on such things as communication skills, (verbal and non-verbal), how they presented themselves, their likes and dislikes, and what they felt their strengths and weaknesses were.

After their first attempt they were given feedback and told to go away and think about what they’d been told. It was amazing how, after just one interview, they really took on board the instruction they’d received. Some of them thought about their appearance in a completely different way and others worked especially hard to maintain good eye contact and talk more openly about themselves in their second interview. You could actually see their body language change as they sat more upright and considered the process.

For me, it really was an experience I won’t forget and I hope in some small way I made a difference because it was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done this year. If any of you get the opportunity to do this, please do; you won’t be disappointed.

Afterwards, I received this lovely note to my office thanking me for my input.

Good luck to all of you in your first interview!

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