(This post was updated on 7/6/2020)
Many years ago, the interview process was simplistic.
I would still consider it nerve-wracking, but not as demanding of a process. Today’s college students need to worry about more than aligning their skills, qualifications, and experiences with the job description.
Now they’re facing phone and video interviews for jobs that may start completely virtual. Plus, they need to understand and prepare so much more. Students need to learn the company’s mission and culture (which might be different, now that it’s virtual), find a network using social media, stay professional while texting recruiters, and discover themselves all along the way.
The pressure of finding a well-paying job immediately after graduation is already toppling. Especially when about half of college graduates in 2020 may be headed for unemployment, according to The Hill. Adding the weight of the changing interview process is overwhelming for many of your students.
Here’s how you can help them tackle those fears and effectively prepare for the changing interview landscape:
Before your students can even begin building relationships with employers, they need to understand where they’ll excel. Knowing what type of environment makes them most successful will give them much-needed confidence throughout the grueling interview process.
Plus, since cultural fit and environment are more important to companies than ever, they’ll have an added advantage to impress interviewers. Unfortunately, many students haven’t been fully immersed in the working world. So, they feel unable to make an educated decision on the work environment they would excel in.
Help your students use classroom experiences to understand their ideal work environment. Ask them to write down the classes they both enjoy and in which they are most productive.
Then, help them take note of their surroundings. Are they working in a group or independently? How involved is the teacher in giving them instructions? Use these answers to gauge what type of team and manager they need to be successful.
Because interviewers aren’t merely looking for candidates to know what the job entails, students need to understand the company’s values and missions. That’s where their classroom research skills come into play.
Even if your students are used to performing research, it’s essential to guide them in the right direction. Employer brands are on the company website, blogs, social media, and career pages.
Once students find all of these, they’ll need to understand how to interpret the mission and goals. This will help them know how to tie their experiences with what the company is seeking.
Show students where to look for employer brands and company missions. Look into their extracurriculars, previous jobs, volunteer experiences, and coursework for connections. Explain how showing companies they’ve not only done their research but have the same values will set them above other applicants.
Networking gives students the opportunities to meet people who can open doors for their careers. However, this isn’t the only part it plays in the interview process. Offering students networking opportunities means setting them up with important mentors. Those mentors and connections will set students up with meaningful guidance throughout their college careers and beyond.
Offer students networking opportunities both in real-time and on social media. When setting up real-time events, consider your students’ ideal working environments and cultural fit. Be sure to introduce various types of employers to help students become familiar with connecting to their future interviewers.