The Interview Skills Day on 4 November was hosted by an organisation called “Purple Patch” who specialise in assisting young people to get the necessary skills to have a successful interview. We had to wear professional clothes to the workshop and it was a very informative day that gave all of its attendants life skills. After all, despite where you are planning to go in life, there will always be interviews.
To begin with, our trainer Julie Irwin told us how to find out about what skills are required for the course or the job that we desire to do, which involved using open days, career websites and interviewing people who are already in that role. This will allow us to thoroughly research the courses or the jobs that we want to do in the future, and it will also make us sound more interested in the job or course.
After this, we participated in an activity where we each had to think independently about what skills are required in our desired course or job (the competencies), and this allowed us to determine what skills we already have for the course or job, what skills we will need and what skills we need that we did not already know about.
Once we had an idea of the skills that were required, we moved on to preparing how to answer interview questions effectively and how to make a memorable, positive first impression on the interviewer. This involved finding out what our USP (Unique Selling Point) is and how to use an approach known as STAR (Situation, Task required, Action you took and Result of that action). Through discovering our USP, we became more able to sell ourselves in an interview and overcome shyness. The STAR approach also allowed us to use relevant stories and examples when answering questions in an interview to demonstrate certain skills, to prevent us from giving any irrelevant information.
Finally, we each participated in a mock interview with a professional interviewer from the world of work whom we had not met before. This was a very useful activity because it gave us the opportunity to feel what a real life interview would be like, to observe each other and make notes of the good or bad techniques that our peers used in their interview and we also got to receive feedback from a person who takes interviews regularly and knows exactly what employers are looking for.
I personally believe that all of Year 14 found this workshop very useful and we will now use the skills that we have learnt to prepare for any possible interviews coming up for universities and jobs in the future.
Aimee Mageean 14C