I arrived on at the Students Affairs office fifteen minutes early for my mock interview session, and sat on the couches in the waiting area. It was a Friday evening, 5 PM, and the faculty working in the office were packing up and leaving for the day.
Earlier that afternoon, Leslie from Career Services called me to confirm my mock interview appointment. That evening when I got there, she came to check on me, offering me water and making sure I was comfortable. I declined, and sat for the fifteen minutes, waiting for the student ahead of me to finish his interview.
Mock Interview Day is an event that is part of Sarah Lawrence’s Senior Transitions Program, a year long series of events that help students’ to prepare themselves for life after graduation. The original Mock Interview Day was held on March 7, and due to positive response, a second day of interviews was arranged.
In addition to mock interviews, the Senior Transitions Program has three more events coming up in the year. These include a New York City apartment hunting information session on April 22 at 6 PM in the science building’s room 301, an advice talk on the online job search process hosted by on April 23 in the Bates meeting room at 6 PM, and an Employer Prospective Panel on April 30 at 6 PM. in the Titsworth Lecture Hall. All events boast food and refreshments, as well as volunteers and professionals willing to help and advise students on the best course of action towards achieving their post-Sarah Lawrence goals.
The original Mock Interview session included Human Resources representatives from various industries. The interview session I attended was hosted by Sarah Lawrence alum Rona Carr, a Board of Trustees member and recent past President of the Alumni Association. Ms. Carr participates in the Board of Trustee Mentor Program. Last semester, she facilitated an Interviewing skills workshop.
When she was ready for me, Rona warmly introduced herself, invited me into the Student Affairs conference room, and directed me to sit in the chair opposite hers. She offered me snacks, and we settled into the interview.
She began by saying, “What I really wanted to do today is get a sense of who you are. So, who are you?”
I needed to pitch myself to my mock prospective employer, so I told her my school, my graduating class year, my hometown, my concentration, and the skills I would bring to a work place.
Once she had gotten a handle on who I was and where I was from, we went through my resume, step by step. Career Services had helped me update my resume and edit it to be professional and readable. She asked about my previous work experience. We discussed my involvement in my high school newspaper and the school’s literary magazine, how that led me to take a nonfiction writing class, and my desire to write in the future.
We talked about my leadership roles, volunteer work, and teamwork. She asked what endearing quality I have that I could bring to a work situation and share with my coworkers. She asked what my biggest fault was.
At the end of the interview, I asked Rona how it was. She told me I need to speak up more, and be more assertive and loud. She was disappointed by my last few answers; she had asked me abstract and creative questions, and my responses showed little to no imagination. When asked if she would have hired me, she looked confused. She did not know, she did not know what job I was applying for. She recommended that I look for a job doing something completely different than anything I had experienced before, and try to work with people that thought in a different way than I do, and approached problems differently. Because I was so inexperienced, she told me to expose myself to different types of people and different types of work than I would naturally choose for myself.
Rona told me some of what her experience at Sarah Lawrence was like, and encouraged me to go and see how other people lived. Take advantage of Sarah Lawrence, she warned me, because not everywhere is as supportive and close knit as the SLC community is.
Walking into an interview is terrifying. Interviewers scrutinize the interviewees; they try to trip them up, explore their minds, find out how they think, discover who they are, and all in a few minutes and on a first impression. It is their job to know whether their company should commit to you and what you have to offer. But practicing, having an idea of what is going to happen and how the interviewer is going to ask you, and how the interviewee should respond, can only make the process easier. Career Services is available to students specifically to help them with their future careers, so take advantage. Sarah Lawrence wants its students and alum to be successful, and provides useful help to students that want it.
by Jacqueline Quirk '17
illustration by Lexie Brown '17