Higher Education

4-Tip Formula for Helping Students Ace Their Interviews

4-Tip Formula for Helping Students Ace Their Interviews

According to a recent study, nearly 48% of job applicants (less than half) interviewing for a job receive an offer. In today’s competitive job market, exceptional interview skills are essential for graduates to secure job offers. Many say the first step toward career success is acing an interview, so helping students possess the skills and preparing them is critical to their success. 

Integrate Interview Prep In Curriculum

Don’t wait for the end of a semester when your students are ordering their graduation regalia to start preparing them. According to a study by The National Association of Colleges and Empowers (NACE), 80% of employers believe interview skills should be integrated into academic programs from the beginning. 

Offering students experiential learning experiences where they can gain real-world experience and exposure can help them better understand their chosen careers. Experiential learning teaches learning allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom and participate in the process rather than passively consume the material. 

Internships, workshops with professionals provide these opportunities to students. As faculty, you can enhance this experience by observing and assessing the skills they demonstrate through these experiences, and providing feedback on areas they may need to work on in order to be successful in their careers, as well as referencing these experiences in the interview process. 

See how a career center at a large California University is using video to enable experiences that help students land their dream jobs. 


Practice Boosts Confidence

Another way to help students prepare for interviews and careers is by enabling them to practice through authentic interview scenarios. Regular practice sessions and mock interviews allow students to gain comfort and confidence with common interview questions and scenarios. Rehearsing and refining delivery better equips them to tackle interview questions with ease. 

Collaborate with career services to create scenarios where students can practice answering interview questions with their peers, faculty and any professionals willing to partner with your institution. This allows students to observe the interview process without having to be on the spot and under pressure to perform. 

Follow up these practice sessions with robust feedback, starting with self-reflection. After a mock interview, for example, ask students to objectively evaluate themselves – what they did well and identifying which questions seemed to stump them and where they need to spend more time thinking through their answers. Self-reflection helps develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence, two skills they will need for career success.

Feedback Feeds Improvement

In addition to self reflection, encourage evaluation and feedback from peers and faculty who can identify blind spots, offer constructive criticism, and suggest areas for improvement which students themselves may have missed. 

Start by involving other students to sit in on the mock interviews and provide feedback. This benefits all the students by allowing them to analyze and practice giving feedback, which are skills that employers look for in new grads

As faculty, make sure to provide feedback on both verbal and non-verbal skills. Non-verbal communication plays a vital role in interviews, and refining non-verbal cues can significantly improve overall interview performance. With nearly 95% of employers and 97% of students citing communication as the most important competency, spending time on refining this skill is vital. For example, encourage students to take notes and show that they are listening as the interviewer explains the job responsibilities. Suggest where they can ask follow up questions, and provide more meaningful responses. 

By identifying students’ strengths and areas for improvement, you cultivate their confidence, which is also a key skill for interview and career success. Encourage students to offer specific examples to support their responses, drawing from classroom and work-relevant experiences. This skill is especially important to setting candidates apart in tighter job markets

Leveraging Video as a Tool

Video is a useful tool in enabling interview success with students, allowing them to practice and perfect their interview skills. Here are five ways video supports interview success: 

  1. Observing skills in practice: Video recordings offer a convenient and efficient way for students and faculty to observe experiential learning and mock interview scenarios without having to be onsite. Watching video recordings allows for replay and identifying precise moments to promote learning and skill development.
  2. Enabling feedback: With video, feedback can be more personalized, contextual and precise, helping learners to see exactly where weak points are and how to improve. Video also enables those providing feedback to show (not just tell) students how to improve. 
  3. Pressure builds confidence: The presence of a camera can be very intimidating – sometimes even more so than an in-person interview. Using video acclimates students to this type of pressure and can lower their anxiety once it’s go-time. 

By leveraging video and providing students the opportunity to experience, practice and learn prior to their first interview, students gain the skills and confidence needed to shine and land the job of their dreams.