• York Rotary

What is a Mock Interview?

One of the many community service activities that York Rotary provides locally is the provision of "mock interviews" for students who are applying to colleges, or for work. These interviews provide useful practice for students most of whom have never been in an interview situation before, and they provide feedback to the students on how to improve their interview preparations and presentation.

Here, Eileen outlines some aspects of the process and her experience of providing this much sought-after service for local schools....



"We only have your personal Statement, so tell us a bit about yourself….

This was our starter question. The Youth Services Team once again offered late Autumn mock interviews for university applicants. For 5 weeks from 16th November, we held 56 30-minute mock interviews via Zoom with students from 6 schools. Rotary School Ambassadors had been involved in distributing our 2021-2 programme to their school contacts and requests came in from All Saints, Archbishop Holgates, Huntington, Joseph Rowntree, Tadcaster Grammar and York College.

Where have you applied, what will you study and why? Justify your choices…..

It was my job to timetable the requests. All had applied for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Oxbridge as these tend to be the only subjects / universities requiring interviews nowadays. Schools made available a room, sometimes with a chaperone for safeguarding purposes, with a computer set up in front of some boring, even bizarre, backgrounds.

A Zoom "mock interview" with a student in progress, with Mary and Eileen


Now specific questions about your subject choice…..

As far as possible, I matched interviewer expertise and availability to student subject choices so that students could be challenged about specifics. The match was not always ideal but that said, we used online lists of sample questions and asked fellow Rotarians with such expertise where necessary. All of us can manage the general, attitudinal and engagement aspects of an interview.

Tell us about a time when you were part of a team / when you led a team…..

What an interview team! We used the York Rotary Zoom link as we could not go into schools and anyway the real ones were/will be online too. Paul Harvey, Mike Hay, Mary Lumley, Paul Roberts or I led each session and we were joined at various times by Jane Albon, Vic Brookes, Stuart Cranidge, Jan Dash, Erin Hartman, Dave Marchant, Russ Rollings, Sheila Weatherburn and Philip Wiltshire. President David joined one group to observe. I would like to register my thanks to the whole team, including Graham Todd and David Walkden whose expertise was not called upon this time.

Do you have questions for us?

This floored many a student but we explained why it is important to show an interest in the people interviewing and the university of choice. .

Here is some brief feedback; we will send you a detailed feedback form asap.

Conscious that they would not remember everything about the interview, each student received a short summary to end the interview and later a detailed form giving specific feedback on their engagement and quality of responses. Sometimes we were able to other advice about the subject and careers in their chosen field.

What is my early evaluation?

We provided a useful service. We met some outstanding students who have obviously worked very hard to get where they are and who have coped with the additional challenges caused by Covid. There were a few more glitches this year, caused by school IT, illness and occasional forgetfulness, as well as Oxbridge interviews coming in earlier than expected and thus clashing with our timetable.

I have asked for more detailed evaluation from the interviewers and school contacts; this will be considered by the Youth Services Team when it meets early in the New Year."

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