Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Job interviews: Thrown in the deep end

Do you have a job interview coming up?

For most of us this is a daunting challenge. How do you communicate your skills and aspirations? How to behave? How will it feel?

If you have asked yourself those questions, practice can boost your confidence and awareness of how you can contribute to the target organization. SAIS Bologna gives you the chance to do this.

To help students hone their interviewing skills, faculty and staff put them through the paces during a series of mock interviews last week. Students launched the idea and drummed up support through a multimedia campaign. During the spoof sessions, faculty and staff adopted roles ranging from a senior World Bank executive to the head of HR with a business consultancy.

Students were thrown into the deep end from the start -- and had only a few moments to prepare before facing interviewers adopting roles from development, multilateral organizations, non-profits, government and business.

What kind of scenarios did they face? Here's an example:

“You have reached the final round interview for an entry-level position on the business analysis team of a well-known management consulting firm. The meeting takes place in the office of the partner and senior consultant to the business analysis team. Since this is a final round interview, you have already proven that you possess the right qualifications for the job. It has been noted in past interviews that you are a SAIS graduate, and since the firm has had generally positive interactions with SAIS graduates, past interviewers have complimented your interdisciplinary graduate education. You have perceived, however, that there may be a bias for MBA degrees at this particular firm. An HR manager who has taken a liking to you has urged that in your final interview you should stress your high level of technical preparedness for the job.”
Frank-Alexander Raabe

At the end of the two-hour event, participants retired to Giulio’s bar to share feedback on the students' performances and a refreshment.

Now we can look forward to SAIS graduates turning the lessons from the mock interviews into successful applications.

Frank-Alexander Raabe

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