Like any other placement professional who arranges and hosts interviews on campus, I experienced a nagging feeling of dread that consumed my consciousness up until the day has passed. No matter how much attention to detail you put into the organisation of employer interviews, ultimately your reputation and that of the university lies in the hands of your students.
Will they turn up on time? Have they dressed appropriately for an interview? Did they bother with at least some basic research of the company? Dear lord please don't let them ask something totally ridiculous that the interviewer will pick up with me over lunch! I'm not typically of a nervous disposition but interviews on my watch that I have arranged and therefore culpable for turn me into a doubting Thomas.
And yet I should be much more relaxed about it all. I provide my students with simple interview instructions, making it crystal clear where they have to be and when. I remind them that although they are meeting an employer on campus, they should dress in exactly the same way that they would if there were to attend an interview at company HQ. Punctuality is discussed, though as I point out, they really should know how long it will take to get to our building on campus, and are unlikely to get lost in unfamiliar streets en route. I don't say it as such but the inference is clear - please don't make me look like an idiot.
At the conclusion of yesterday's interviews, I was both relieved and proud. There weren't any 'no-shows'. All candidates arrived on or ahead of time. Nobody turned up wearing a hoodie and Timberland boots as I've seen happen before, or a P Diddy style white dinner jacket; dress to impress clearly was lost in translation on that occasion!
|Diddy Make It Rain (Photo credits: Giphy)|
In the grand scheme of things, my role as a third party should not be important. Ultimately yesterday was about employers meeting candidates and whatever was discussed in those half hour blocks in my interviewing room is what really counts. Why then do I get so stressed about facilitating these events? In a nutshell, reputation. What is often overlooked by students is how the placement opportunities we upload onto our blackboard/moodle/insertyourownVLE are sourced. Some come directly from employers who market to every university. Others are sourced through intermediary websites such as RateMyPlacement. Then there are the companies who target specific universities, and they are our most precious commodity.
Placements are cyclical and so retaining repeat business is a big part of what we do. Building and maintaining relationships is king. As a consumer, if I receive crap service I will take my business elsewhere. The same principle applies with recruitment. Yesterday was the ninth time I welcomed the same recruiter to campus to meet with my students and I very much want to see them again next year. Despite all those year of building employer relations, it only takes one negative experience for that relationship to be broken, and the loss of a bread and butter internship for future cohorts.
So if you are a student and wonder why your placement team get so mumsy when it comes to interviews, and want to ensure you follow instructions to a T, now you know. We've done our bit to open doors for you; please make sure those doors remain open for the future.