AAW Students Benefit from ‘Real World’ Mock Interviews

6 months

Al Ain Women’s (AAW) students undertaking the Creating Your Future (LSS 2003) courses have been given a comprehensive mock corporate interview experience, thanks to the AAW Career Services Department.

Last semester, Kellye Blackburn, AAW Career Advisor, approached the Creating Your Future faculty with the idea to personally provide mock interviews for every student enrolled in LSS 2003.

“The Creating Your Future course is an excellent course that provides career development for students with course assignments such as CV and Cover Letter writing and creating E-Portfolios that help increase students’ knowledge of the UAE job market, improve soft skills and ultimately improve students’ employability,” Ms Blackburn said.

Rochelle Franklin, AAW Acting Head of Academics, said: “Creating opportunities to participate in the mock interview provides our students with real-world experience and allows them to receive critical feedback on their performance. Collaborating with teachers to deliver practical skills in the classroom is an important part of our curriculum and is preparing them for on-the-job expectations.”

Kellye Blackburn explained the concept behind the mammoth task of interviewing over 70 students for the project. “I wanted each student enrolled in the Creating Your Future course to experience an authentic first round interview – very similar to an interview they would have at any company,” she said.

LSS 2003 faculty were provide with information on Elevator Speeches and the STAR Method for Answering Behavioral Based Interview Questions, so that they could prepare their students for the types of questions I would ask during the mock interviews.  Students also prepared CVs and cover letters for specific job descriptions that they were required to bring to the mock interviews.

Each student was given a 15-minute interview, after which they were given feedback, with suggestions for improvement. As part of the mock interview exercise, students were required to complete an interview reflection, this was a very useful component of the Mock Interview exercise.

Course instructor Nancy Fahnestock said: “My students benefited tremendously from the authentic interviews with Kellye during their LSS 2003 class.  I received a great deal of feedback from the students regarding how they learned what to do and what not to do, about how to be better prepared for an interview.  I had taught this class for several consecutive semesters and although I thought the class was excellent before, this added component enriched the course in ways that teaching, reading or assessing could never have accomplished.”

The goal for next year is to bring HR professionals to AAW to conduct mock interviews with students to boost student participation and for them to stay up to date with the types of interview questions employers are currently asking, and specific skills employers want graduates to highlight in interviews.

Special thanks to the Creating Your Future faculty, Rochelle Franklin, Nancy Fahnestock, Kevin Kehoe and Melissa Monney for partnering with the AAW Career Services department to provide such a useful career development activity for students.