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Alumni teach students interview skills

By Sarah Rahman '16

April 10, 2014

The Career Center hosted the fourth annual Interview MoJo in the Fillius Events Barn on Saturday, April 5. The event consisted of a panel discussion led by alumni, which focused on selling oneself with confidence at interviews, followed by mock interviews conducted by alumni. A group of 30 seniors and juniors attended and participated in two rounds of individual interviews with selected alumni.

Assistant Director of the Career Center Janine Oliver, introduced the panel and laid out the agenda of the day. Panelists included Professor of Law at Georgetown University Julie Ross ’84, Publicity Manager for Digital and New Media at Random House Kate Childs ’08, Admissions Consultant at Brooklyn Law School Peggy Garte ’01, and Assistant Vice President at Dewitt Stern Rob Rosenzweig ’07, .

Consulting Counselor at the Career Center Katie Dugan ’92 moderated the panel. Dugan spoke of “interviewing as storytelling,” especially when asked the common question, “Tell me about yourself.” She also emphasized the importance of “marketing your skills” in a way that goes “beyond what is in your cover letter.”

Dugan stressed the advantages of being a liberal arts student at Hamilton College, remarking how students’ “intellectual curiosity,” “enthusiasm” and “love of learning” are powerful tools. In order to take steps in the right direction during an interview, she asserted, “Know your skills, embrace them, market them.” Ross commented on how Hamilton’s small classroom environments enable students to gather a focused educational experience that improves students’ abilities to think critically and work collaboratively.

Ross also discussed the importance of demonstrating professionalism and maturity during interviews. She compared an interview to having “dinner with your friends’ parents.” Rosenzweig expressed, “Don’t think of it as a Q-and-A.” Likewise Childs mentioned how being over-prepared for an interview can often “stall the conversation.” Interviewees should also always have a few questions for the interviewer, said Rosenzweig.

Alumni then led two rounds of mock interviews in the Tolles Pavillion. After each 30-minute interview, students received feedback and comments from the interviewer.

Jose Mendez ’14 described the mock interview process as an “amazing experience.” In his comments about feedback from alumni after his interviews, he mentioned, “The advice was on-point, valuable and reliable. Our conversations extended beyond the 30 minute mark.” The event was a remarkable demonstration of the commitment that alumni have for Hamilton after graduation.

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