Interview Skills Day, November 2012

On the 8 November, I and the rest of Year 14 had the privilege of attending a workshop taken by Mr Pat Jamison from Sentinus.  Many of the girls in Year 14 have applied for courses at university that require an interview as the main part of the entry process therefore it was very important.  The aim of the day was to learn how to make ourselves come across as suitable applicants for a university course or job in an interview.  Pat gave us five main areas to work at; time keeping, presentation, preparation, communication and our attitude.  We also learnt the main problem areas that people fail in during interviews; no self management ability, lack of business awareness, no previous research or the candidates had a generally negative attitude.  We were given advice on how to improve these areas.  We watched a video of people who were poor candidates and then people who were good candidates.  From this contrast, we were able to learn the necessary skills for an interview and how to portray ourselves successfully.  The key sentence that Pat kept repeating was “marketing yourself effectively to achieve your goal.”  We were then shown a video on the history of Northern Ireland which demonstrated how large an impact Northern Ireland has made in the world and how we have the potential to make this country become more iconic.

When people attend an interview, a boss can normally tell within the first 30 seconds whether they will employ the candidate or not, this highlighted how significant first impressions are and that a firm handshake and eye contact are both vital.  We filled in sheets on how we should market ourselves which included our skills and qualities that we could talk about in interviews.

We were divided into groups of 5 or 6 to have mock interviews.  The people interviewing us were from professions that interested some of the girls in Year 14 including a doctor, dentist, solicitor, primary headmasters, members of the Board of Governors and an accountant from the bank.  We each had a mock interview in a similar situation, as if we were having one for university, then we received feedback on how we performed.

The day was beneficial as we gained an insight into what interviews are like which was necessary as many of Year 14 had never been in an interview situation.  We were very privileged  to hear the presentation and guidance from Pat and the information that we learnt will be useful for the future.  Although many of us were nervous about the mock interviews, they turned out to be practical as we were able to enhance our interview skills through them. Overall, the day was very successful and useful as the majority of people will have to go for an interview sometime in the future.

Rebecca Robinson

Year 14