Preparing science undergraduates for success after graduation involves more than teaching them the standard curriculum and laboratory skills. The purpose of this intervention was to prepare undergraduates for their first job/graduate school/professional school interview. Senior Seminar (BSCI 701) is a required course for all science majors that is taken during the first or second semester of a student’s final year of college. Three different styles of interviews were assigned to students: A synchronous simulation software (Interview Stream) interview, an in-class mock interview, a videotaped interview at the Internship and Career Planning office conducted by Internship and Career Planning staff. This intervention was performed during the fall semester of 2015 (n=11) and 2016 (n=12). Students were surveyed at the beginning and of end the semester and the results of both sections were combined. Overall students’ confidence increased as 47.6% of the students reported they were very confident with their interview skills at the beginning of the semester compared to 65.2% at the end of the semester. After completing the synchronous simulation video interview, some students reported they felt uncomfortable speaking into the camera, yet they saw value in the ability to identify some of their nervous habits during the playbacks. Performing the in-class mock interview with a classmate, students reported they felt more comfortable, confident and they appreciated feedback from a peer. After reviewing their videotaped interview with an Internship and Career Planning staff member, they learned they need to make eye contact, smile, speak clearly, have good posture, and wear professional dress. At the end of the semester, students reflected on the skills that they can improve upon and these include: warm up to the interviewer more quickly, think before answering quickly, rehearse answers to common questions, avoid fidgeting, avoid lengthy pauses, make eye contact and overall, being less nervous. By providing students with a variety of opportunities to practice their interview skills, they will feel more confident and be aware of how they can improve. The more practice and feedback they receive will make them more successful presenting themselves professionally post-graduation.
This abstract is from the Experimental Biology 2018 Meeting. There is no full text article associated with this abstract published in The FASEB Journal.