Journalism Mock Interviews Recap

By Barb Benish

I didn’t do it intentionally. In fact, I didn’t even know I had done it. But last week, when I looked at all the employers who had given of their time to participate in the Department of Journalism’s Spring 2012 mock interviews, I noticed an interesting trend. Seven of the nine employees were UW Oshkosh graduates, and six of those were journalism alumni:

Ross Mollet, associate creative director and copywriter at Arketype Inc.

Adam Sturm, UW Oshkosh campus coordinator for WISPIRG’s Energy Service Corps

Pam Seidl, director of marketing and community relations for the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau

Kate Unger, marketing manager for Reeve Memorial Union

Frank Isca, marketing programs manager and inbound marketing specialist for Weidert Group

Jon Huser, marketing manager at Bekins A-1 Movers

The seventh employer, Barb Kretsch, marketing communications manager at Secura Insurance Companies, had graduated with a degree in music.

It reminded me of another blog that I had recently read from our very own Tom Hanaway, who graduated in Summer 2011 and who is now working as a marketing and outreach specialist in Madison. His article, printed in USA Today College, gives five suggestions how to be an awesome alum. Tip No. 3 — be a mentor.

That’s just what the employers were who participated in the April 4 interviews  — mentors. The employers shared with the students what they did right and wrong in the interview. But the employers also met with journalism faculty members afterward, and we learned a few things that I’ll be passing on to the participants:

  • Dress more professional. Nice is OK, but for an interview, get a suit or at least a jacket.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the employers who you are. All students told about their skills. But many didn’t give the employers a good feeling of what they were like. Employers want to know if you’d be a “good fit” for their company. They want to know about your personality and interests outside of work.
  • Let your passion shine. Too many students wanted to be “generalists.” That’s OK, but if you excel in writing, for instance, make that clear in your interview, your resume, and your portfolio.

Some of the employers, however, were so impressed with our students, that two were called in for real interviews. (Translate that into real jobs.) How cool is that?

The date for the Fall 2012 mock interviews isn’t yet set. When it is, I’ll post that on the journalism website. You don’t have to be in a class to participate in the mocks. Anyone can. In fact, every one should. So make the time in your schedule. It will help hone your interview skills. And it just might land you a job. And that is really, really cool.


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