Each year, Bowdoin Career Planning gives seniors a chance to practice the tricky skill of interviewing before they launch their job searches.
This year, approximately 82 seniors signed up for Mock Interview Day on Oct. 18. They were allotted 20 minutes each to meet with a pseudo-employer and pretend to be a job candidate. After time was up, the interviewers provided friendly feedback to students on their performances, such as on their body language and the delivery of their answers.
Serving as interviewers were community members, alumni and Bowdoin staff, representing diverse fields such as consulting, finance, education, government, health, marketing, publishing, art, nonprofits, science and media.
Kaylee Wolfe ’15, who helped Assistant Director of Career Planning Meg Springer coordinate Mock Interview Day, said that while many interview questions tend to be general, it’s helpful to pair a student with an interviewer whose profession interests them. “[The interviewers] will know best what people in their field are looking for,” she said.
Here is the advice several seniors said they found most useful from their mock interviewers.
Madeline Lamo, consulting, paralegal and legal jobs: “[My interviewer] told me it was okay to take a breath and think for a second before answering, instead of rambling on.”
Becky Krakora, bio-medicine, science: “I was told being positive and excited goes a long way.”
Emma Johnson, nonprofits, hunger and poverty: “Telling specific stories is the best advice I got. With writing essays, it’s better to show not tell, and the same is true with interviewing. You have to provide evidence rather than say unsupported points about yourself.”
Sunnie Kuna, science research: “My interviewer gave me lots of tips to relax, and he helped me with answering the question of why we should hire you. He told me that for my interest in science research, I should focus on three things when I answer this question in general: One, why I love research; two, why I love science; and three, how I’m a good team player, since teamwork is so crucial for research.”
Neli Vazquez, public relations, advertising: “The best insight I got from my interview is that the interview is a medium where you can express your enthusiasm about the position. When you go into an interview, you want to be professional, but you don’t want to be boring!”
Madelena Rizzo, psychology research: “Just be concise…Each of your answers should be about 90 seconds. And it’s important to be honest, even if what you’re saying is not what the interviewer wants to hear.”
Dana Hopkins, theater, film, advertising, museums: “I realized the interview is a conversation. You’re sitting across from a real person, and you want to get your points across in a fluid conversation.”
Thao Nguyen, business consulting: “I was told by my interview to shorten my responses and to make sure everything I said was concise and to the point.”
Diana Lee, law: “I think for me the most valuable part of the whole experience was that I was in as real an interview setting as possible, and had the chance to practice answering questions. I really got to think about how I want to tell my story to an employer.”
Natalja Rosculet, medicine: “I’m applying to medical school and in these types of interviews a lot of times you are asked why you want to be a doctor. Everyone gives canned answers about how they want to help people. My interviewer gave me a tip on answering this by talking about healthcare disparities and how doctors can play a role in fixing them.”
Nick Saba, medicine: “My interviewer could tell the areas of my resume where I came alive. These points of my resume I can expound on during interviews…like the fact that I’m a runner.”
Chelsea Shaffer, nonprofits, education: “The perception about interviews is that you have to be professional and cold, but it’s better to open up and have a conversation, create a rapport. It’s good to give them a sense of who you are, more than just what your resume says about you.”
2013 Volunteer Interviewers:
Doug Cook, Director of News and Media Relations at Bowdoin College
Bruce MacMillan, President, MacMillan Associates
Matt Orlando, Controller, Controller’s Office at Bowdoin College
Lisa Miller ’83, Retired Executive at Delhaize America
Art Charles, Former Head of Foreign and Domestic Private Schools
Rebecca Kosakowski, Independent College Counselor
Lindsey Lessard, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Bowdoin College
Kate O’Grady, General Legal Consultant
Rachel Reeves Esq., Senior Advisor for Student Affairs, UMaine Law School
Nate Hintze, Associate Director of Student Activities at Bowdoin College
Steve Loebs ’60, Faculty Emeritus, College of Public Health at The Ohio State University
Dr. Peter McGuire ’62, Retired Physician and Former Medical Director of the Oasis Free Health Clinic
Anja Forche, Research Assistant Professor at Bowdoin College
Andrea Jowdry, Laboratory Research Technician at Bowdoin College
Elizabeth Cartland ’99, Director of Development at the Portland Museum of Art
Joachim Homann, Curator at Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Jessica Routhier, President of Maine Archives and Museums
Ian Yaffe ’09, Director of Mano en Mano
Nick Schuller, Program Director at The Telling Room
Sean Sullivan ’08, Executive Director of Maine Brewers’ Guild