One day of every winter term, the third floor of Vogel Library is reserved for well-dressed business students and various local employers who come together for mock interviews.
This year’s event, hosted by Pathways on Feb. 6, held interviews for over 70 Professional Business Career Preparation and Senior Seminar students and connected them with representatives from local employers such as Veridian Credit Union, John Deere and Northwestern Mutual.
The interviews were 30 minutes long and were as realistic as possible with the students required to wear business professional attire, create a resume, formally meet the employer, answer questions and send thank you letters afterwards.
“All we’re trying to do here is help students think about their interviewing skills objectively,” Derek Solheim, the director of Pathways, said. “It’s a nice way to get some safe feedback before you have to go out in the real world.”
This feedback involves a critique sheet filled out by the employers that includes anything from what the student is wearing to their body language throughout the interaction.
The critique sheet is transferred from the employer to the professors of the courses before being returned to the students for reflection.
This is a vital part of each class’s curriculum as it provides the students with knowledge that can only be gained through hands-on experiences.
“Becoming the most effective in an interview all comes down to how much experience you have in the interview room,” Matthew Beebe said after his interview with an HR representative from John Deere. “There are skills and situations that you can only receive from being in an interview and not taught in the classroom.”
The mock interviews also allow students to see how their actions make an immediate impact as corrections for more impactful mistakes can be administered during the interaction.
Solheim remembered one incident where a student came dressed in a suit and tie but forgot to take off his baseball cap.
With a quick reminder from the employer to do so, the hat was removed and the interview proceeded, leaving the student with a valuable lesson.
The mock interviews also provide other important realizations for the students. Breann Bader said her interview taught her the importance of using examples from her personal life to answer the questions and the value of making connections.
Connections make these mock interviews possible.
This event is one of the ways which Wartburg utilizes relationships with local businesses, Solheim said.
This network has been crafted over the last several years and makes it possible for employers to be active on campus and interact with students.
As a result, several job and internship opportunities are presented to Wartburg students through these businesses. The mock interviews are another way to create a connection between employers and students and can produce a potential position with that company in the future.
“These are great opportunities and it’s so great to have employers here,” Solheim said. “It’s important to be able to do this and the interviews are designed to really educate them so that it becomes a skill the students can master,” he said.