Marcia Layton Turner
LDS Business College

What would you do if you were told you didn’t interview well? You would probably try to figure out what, exactly, you could do to make a better impression in order to nail the next interview.

That is exactly what happened with students at LDS Business College in Salt Lake City.

Professionals serving on academic advisory boards told the college’s career services department that students were not presenting themselves and their many accomplishments in the best light.

Students needed guidance in “how to conduct themselves and how to translate their education and professional experiences into relevant and distinctive information in their interviews,” explains Cathy Carey, director of curriculum.

“They often lacked confidence,” she adds.

So in the 2014 fall semester, Mock Interview Week was born. During the first session, college staff and administrators interviewed more than 200 students in ENG 220, a required course for graduation.

Each 20-minute interview forces students to practice responses to behavior-based interview questions, such as the easier, “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake,” to the tougher, “Describe your communication style.”

Student success, of course, involves more than answering questions adeptly. Students must also arrive on time, résumé in-hand and dressed appropriately, and be prepared to ask questions of the interviewer about their organization. A handwritten thank you note is also required.

At the conclusion of the interview, students give feedback on their interviewer’s demeanor and conduct, which the more than 25 employers who also participated eagerly looked forward to.

While rounding up interviewers took some persuading the first go-around, all staff and administrators now participate. Together, the group—including employers—interviewed250 students during the spring 2016 semester.

And all of the employers have asked to participate again during the next Mock Interview Week. “The energy and enthusiasm is palpable on campus during that week,” says Carey.

Inside the program

  • During the spring 2016 Mock Interview Week, the 67 interviewers averaged three interviews each.
  • The most common question employers who conducted interviews asked the college was, “Is it OK if we offer students jobs?”
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