During the ‘Pre-Fall’ class back in early August 2006, we all signed up to work various mock interview weekends. These events were held for the benefit of the undergraduate business students and provided them an opportunity to practice interviewing for jobs. The interviewers were the MBA students at the business school, who conducted the interviews in conference rooms that were outfitted with cameras. After their interviews, students could check out the DVD containing their interview to watch how they did and improve upon any issues.
The school was quite savvy in telling the MBA students that our shifts started 30 minutes prior to when they actually started. I got to my 10:00am-noon time slot and found that my first interview wasn’t until 10:30am and that I’d have three more to conduct before being allowed to leave at 12:30pm. Donuts were made available.
My first undergrad was probably the celebrity highlight of the day. At least an on-campus celebrity. The young lady was a co-captain of the rather legendary USC Song Girls. This is basically a fancy and tradition-laden way of saying that she was a cheerleader for the various sporting events, the same squad of 12 do the football and basketball games. The Song Girls are, of course, a fan favorite of the male gender on campus and whenever USC football is broadcast nationally on ABC-TV, it is very common eye-candy to return from commercials with a lingering shot on the Song Girls. This did lead to recent controversy when a shot during the Rose Bowl showed what appeared to be a Song Girl’s bare backside. It was later discovered that she’d simply gotten a very extreme wedgie rather than not worn any undergarments.
Anyhow, the young co-captain had worked a rather impressive internship last spring at Universal Studios, being part of a team that constructed the extra features to a special edition DVD set for “Brokeback Mountain.” Oddly, I learned that there are rabid fans of that film who call themselves “Brokies,” like “Trekkies,” and they were very disappointed with the lack of special features on the initial DVD release. An assignment on “Brokeback Mountain” wouldn’t be my first choice of projects, but it was amusing that the Song Girl did respectfully reference a knowledge of “Trekkies.”
Oh and did I mention that our Song Girl is also the reigning Miss Culver City? Well, she made sure to mention it. And yes, she was quite pretty, but not devastatingly beautiful. Admittedly, judging true character in the context of our situation was a bit tough, but she did seem genuine enough and as down-to-earth as one could be if one spent all of one’s fall appearing in snippets of national television or performing in front of 100,000 cheering fans.
After the interview, I did verify on the USC website that she indeed was who she said she was.
One other notable interviews was a guy who had quite the compelling life story to tell. He mentioned that he’d not done particularly well in High School and shortly after graduating, his parents both lost their jobs. As such, he started working as a bookkeeper in order to support his parents and six siblings. Apparently his boss at the bookkeeping job became a mentor of sorts and encouraged him to continue his education.
The young man started taking classes through a local community college. Now at age 22, he had transferred to USC to finish up the final two years of his education. He still remained a primary supporter of his family and intended to get into motivational coaching. Apparently there are opportunities for that kind of thing around the L.A. area. I guess that a larger population can support such things a bit more easily than in smaller communities. Long story short, I was sold on the guy and his drive to succeed.
The last couple of interviews were rather ho-hum. One girl was looking to leverage her Spanish-speaking skills into a consulting company position; her family owned a donuts shop in central California and I found that amusing. There was also a guy from Singapore who wanted to do marketing throughout eastern Asia. He wasn’t half bad, but afterward he admitted that he had been terrified since it was his first ever mock job interview.