North Berwick High School
Creating an Impression Employability Skills Training for S6 Report November 2011
What did you enjoy most about the programme? I liked the interviews - help you work out what it would be like when we were in an interviewer and interviewee's position and we were to be asked some random questions which an interviewer may ask in an interview, I enjoyed it because we never knew what question we would be asked and where put under pressure to answer the question quickly and sensibly The method of role-playing we use to practice interviews. They were invaluable in helping us learn the do's and donâ€™ts of job interviewing. Learning how to shake hands with the interviewer and the body language skills we learned I liked learning about the body language and how to make a good impression when going for an interview. I liked being able to put the stuff I learned in class into practice with mock interviews, this meant I got to see if there were any major problems. I enjoyed the sessions where we would have one person pretending to be the interviewer and someone else being interviewed. We would ask and answer questions and then swap places to see what it would be like to be as the interviewer/interviewee. I found this very useful. I enjoyed learning about different employment skills like how to get a job and how to look when being interviewed and how to create a CV.
What did you find most difficult? Getting ready for the interviews- didnâ€™t know what to look for I found the actual interview most difficult as I was not very prepared for the interview, I also found this hard because the questions being asked where quite complicated Finding something that I would consider difficult. I found the park bench the most difficult as you had to think of an answer on the spot and had no time to prepare When we were put under pressure to answer questions on the spot while getting filmed. I find writing my CV most difficult because it was something I had never had to do. It was also difficult as I wasnâ€™t a 100% confident with my final CV, which is something I can change will help from teachers. Answering questions whilst being filmed. It made me feel a little intimidated and I felt under a lot of pressure as I felt I couldn't be myself. After I had the interview, I felt confident more confident in myself than I did before as I wasn't being filmed. I found it difficult to put my CV together like my personal statement and I also found it difficult to prepare answers to question I might be asked.
What skills do you think you developed during the programme? How to act in a interview I developed skills in making my CV and my interview techniques on how to answer questions quickly and sensibly whilst also relating your answer to the job that you are applying for Various social skills and I can now actually write a CV. I learned to give full and detailed answers with examples to back them up, like tell me a time when you were under pressure. I was able to give full answers because of the programme Good people skills. How to write a CV and how to cope with different situations when in interviews. I have developed my general personae during interviews, it’s almost as if you’re acting, as your trying to sell yourself to an employer. Learning to answer questions to someone and having an awareness on how to present myself for an interview. I learned how to answer questions in an interview with someone I didn't know like giving examples with my answers. Overall, how would you rate the programme. Excellent – 2 respondents Very Good – 5 respondents Average – 1 respondent
How do feel about going for an interview now? Confident 3 respondents Prepared 5 respondents What advice would you give to other students wanting to follow this programme? Take it all in and ask question - about what to do BE PREPARED !!!!!!! Actually practice for your interviews and don't try to bluff your way through em'. Make sure you are committed to the programme and contribute every week. be prepared to ask questions and try new things Make sure you are committed to the programme and want to be here and are willing to co operate with the teachers. I would say that you get out what you put in, so donâ€™t waste time, just do it, otherwise you will be left behind and confused. Practice answering questions. Can be very handy when the interview comes as you will feel more confident and prepared. The advice I would give is that be prepared for an interview meaning have answers to potential questions and when in an interview look presentable.
Can you give your impressions of the event as an employer? I enjoyed it and appreciate the complexity of getting all the participants in the one place at the same time. However more preparatory work in setting the scene for the young people and creating a more realistic environment would add significantly to the benefit of the process. Well organised and targeted at the right age group. From our experience it is definitely beneficial for the students to receive an understanding of the recruitment and selection process. I thought the students were enthusiastic and well presented. The CV's were good and showed a diverse list of activities. It is always good as an employer to find out the interviewee has researched the job and your business. Well organised and targeted at the right age group. From our experience it is definitely beneficial for the students to receive an understanding of the recruitment and selection process. Good to know students are getting exposure to this sort of training. As an employer, I found it quite difficult interviewing for a role that didn't exist, and that wouldn't have been offered to a student. Might it be worth creating dummy positions that they would be interviewed for. If they had this focus, it might help them prepare better (and more easily). One candidate did not prepare a CV or know anything about my company that's really very poor.
Had tailored the CV to job description which was well presented. Some small typos (capital letters etc) State what IT packages you are familiar with.
Could have added more detail - sometimes too general e.g. 'developed team working skills' how? 'Followed instructions' - give an example. Didn't mention work experience or sporting achievements which were on his CV. Answered all questions without hesitation, took time to listen and respond. Good pace in the responses. Asked to expand on one answer - could have drawn more on work placement experienced and paired reading. Asked relevant questions and I felt he had a genuine interest in the position on offer. Dressed very smartly.
What advice would you give the students based on their interviews? Prepare! Come on time and most importantly (in one case), make sure you have a cv prepared in advance and at the very least, brought with them to the interview. Being told by one candidate that she didn't expect to be there was no excuse for her not submitting her cv. Encourage them to come expecting to ask questions, I was quite happy to be interrogated by them but typically of Scottish youngsters, they were reticent to do so.
Maintain initial bright enthusiasm throughout the interview. Keep your answers relevant- linking your experience to the job or question asked Do your research- looks good and helps you to anticipate what you will be asked. You must have prepared a response to ' have you got anything you would like to ask us' - "No" won't win you many jobs!
When answering competency based question to use their own experiences and try and expand as much as possible. Try and have a variety of examples to reflect upon. More consideration to be taken when completing the statement of support to ensure it’s tailored to the specific criteria.
When the applicants make it to an interview, it's because the employer has seen something on their CV or application that they like. The employer has only asked them into the interview because they think they might be a good fit for the role. The students should take confidence from this – the employer will want them to succeed – they wont ask someone in for an interview hoping that they’ll fail. So advice would be: Relax & be confident: the interviewer is on their side and wants them to do well. The other advice I would offer is to always try and link a benefit to a feature. ie: ‘helping train the 2nd year rugby team’ is a feature. The students need to think about (and be prepared to talk about) what the benefits of that feature would be to an employer. Don’t make a CV just a list of features - explain what it is they’ve got out of each one, and why these benefits might be useful to an employer. On a very practical level – they should remember to sit up straight, don’t let their eye’s wander around the room, and not to dilute what it is they are saying with unnecessary um’s and er’s.
What was your personal impression of the event? I did enjoy it, though I'm uncertain about the value a 20 minute "chat" can provide the participants. There's also the danger that their experience of one interview style will influence them in the future.
Overall I was impressed by how well the students approached it and hope they found it as worthwhile as I found it interesting We saw the benefit of the event on the 6th October in preparing students for an interview and providing feedback and answering questions and queries that they had.
Well organised and great to know students are getting this kind of exposure. Do the students see this as just more school work that they are being assigned? I felt the two I had did (although one of them did work very hard during the interview). Would it be worth considering on how it might be positioned as something else - as a practical skill which they are going to have to deal with sooner or later? Might it be worth considering taking the whole event out of the school environment, so that they can distinguish the mock interviews from just regular school work? All the employers rated the programme as good or very good. Many thanks to our employers: Andy Rafferty Bill Mitchell Karen Duncan Andrew Smith Sandra King and the S6 students who lasted the course at North Berwick High