Casual Interviews Unveiled

Coffee and Macbook during Interviews

Did anyone else notice that – in Sauder especially – an interview is required for EVERYTHING?! Want to be a club exec? Come in for an interview. Feel like volunteering at UBC? Sign up for the interview. Need to use the vending machine? Interview with the Coffee Crisp first =D (the last one involves munching on my part XD). I guess it’s only fitting that a business school is promoting a common industry practice.

Time for a confession: I actually LOOOOVE interviews! I mean, come on, when else am I going to have the opportunity to talk about myself for fifteen minutes straight and at the same time holding the undivided attention of three seniors?! Jolly good.

So I’ve done three or four of these, mostly for business-related clubs/organizations/events. Here’s what I learned and observed.

The Set-Up. Usually the room is set up so that there is a table between the interviewers and the interviewee. The most common number of interviewers is three (occasionally two, rarely one). The tribunal setup maybe a little intimidating for people, but it should be enjoyable because 1) you will be able to maintain eye contact with at least one person at all times 2) your attention is divided so you don’t spend the entire interview wondering if the one person who decides your fate likes you. So far the lovely folks I met all had laptops and took notes as I spoke. I wasn’t very accustomed to this at first… imagine saying “so I think I’m suitable because…” and hearing three laptops going tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap…

The Interviewers. They all seem like fun, amazing, and extremely nice people, seriously (and this applies to the positions I didn’t get as well, so I’m not just saying it)! It was more of a chat than a nerveswrecking process really, thanks to the interviewers who are our peers. There’s usually a round of introductions and handshaking when I went in, before getting down to business. I had questions every time and they always enthusiastically answered all of them.

The Dress Code. Most of the ones I went to were completely casual, ie. show up in your regular school clothes. One recommended “business casual” which translates to simply “clean and well-groomed”. No suits yet, no surprises there.

The Questions. Pretty standard, run-of-the mill things that gives one plenty of opportunity to talk about oneself. Hurray. Here they are… if my memory doesn’t fail me

  • Tell us about yourself. [Thanks AW]
  • How can your skills and experience contribute to the organization/club and how will they help you in your role?
  • Describe a situation where you had to show leadership and work in a team.
  • How would you motivate fellow team members/volunteers?
  • Why do you want to join this organization/club?
  • What do you think about the organization/club’s motto, cause, theme etc.?
  • What other time commitments do you have?
  • Describe an organizational structure that you didn’t like, and what you did to improve the situation.
  • If you were a [insert random object here], what kind of [that object] would you be? (That was hilarious!)
  • Here’s a situation (like event promotion, marketing strategies), please think about it for 30 seconds and then act it out with an interviewer.
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • Tell us a joke. [Thanks AW]

The notification. I heard back from my interviewers within three days either by phone or by email. Phone rejection hurts, but what kind of rejection doesn’t haha? The other exciting part is reading the group emails and seeing who else got in! So that’s my take on interviews (don’t ask me about university admissions interviews, they’re so effin terrifying! *shudders*)


Read 8 comments

  1. Haha.. awesome post! That’s the attitude we gotta have when facing these interviews eh? I get my second ubc interview tomorrow, with the The Norm Evolution in Response to Dilemmas (NERD) project.

    Which positions have you gotten so far? Oh and you forgot to mention the use of harry potter references in your interviews 😛

  2. All excellent points Phoebe. I was going to make a blog about this but you hit most of the important points already! But then again I have another perspective on some of the stuff you talked about.

    PS. One of my UBC interviews had about 9 execs sitting around one side of the room all with their laptops while I was sitting in a chair close to the door. That was definitely intimidating.
    PPS. I didn’t get that position. Not even a rejection call.

    I find it hilarious how I was reading this in class and then Kawai walks in saying she might be in a group interview with you for IB and I pointed at your blog!

  3. @Eastwood: Haha it’s so you to go join tech-related groups! I’m in IBC and CPP.

    @Andrew – 9 execs!? That’s so scary! What organization was it?

    Oh and I just talked to Kawai on MSN about how we have an interview together… darn, it’s easier boasting about myself when there’s no one who knows my “background” in the room!

  4. It’s actually a work-study bio-tech-ethical research project for the Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics. I’ll tell you more about it later. Interesting experience today @ the interview 😀

  5. HAHAHA omg you know what? you are the 2nd person i interviewed ever and katherine is the first and seriously, i was kinda more nervous actually conducting it then being interviewed. its really strange trying to smile, look nice, dont make funny faces and ppl say weird things, and dont fall asleep. mostly i found that its really the feeling u get not what they say or at least that was for me!

  6. @Bess – woot! I get to hear from an interviewer’s perspective =D You seem pretty experienced for interviews though.

    LOL it sounds more fun from the other side of the table… give me a few years and hopefully i will have crossed over XD

    “It’s really the feeling u get not what they say” –> nugget of gold!

  7. Hey! I was creeping on the CCP Website (looks good, btw) and ended up here.

    For the record, I banned laptops from CCP I’views for that exact reason!

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the process. I like hearing from people who sat through the other side of the CCP table, and you’re one more person to refute Bess’ claim that I scare the sh*t out of people during interviews. Jeez.

    Also, I believe the legit term for Bess’ words of wisdom is “fit,” which is something you’re going to hear for a good chunk of your time in Sauder. I won’t go so far as 100% concur with what she says in a public space, but there is some truth to it, especially when you’re saying the right things anyway. You’ll know what I mean when you cross over to the other side. It’s way funner, btw!

Leave a Reply