Mock Placement

This past Monday, the University of Arkansas hosted the second annual mock placement exchange where multiple departments are called upon to provide interviews to first and second year graduate students in the Division of Student Affairs. The directors in various departments, or members of their staff, are asked to interview candidates for mock positions within their department or another area that they have experience with. After the interviewers have been selected, positions have been decided, rooms are reserved and setup in the same fashion as The Placement Exchange (TPE). Candidates are then informed of all the available positions to apply for and they will rank those they’re interested in. Depending on the time frame that you have to host interviews will depend on how many interviews a candidate will receive. This year the mock placement exchange committee was able to offer candidates three interviews, in addition to a StrengthsQuest option to speak with someone about how to sell your strengths during an interview. 

After the committee reviews the rankings and does some logistics work, candidates are provided a schedule of their interviews, along with a job description in order to prepare for their interview. When the interviews begin, each candidate will have 30 minutes with the interviewer to answer questions about the position, ask questions, and receive instant feedback. Although the interviews are targeted for second year students who plan on attending TPE and interviewing for professional positions, it is also beneficial for first year students who want to receive assistance on their resumes, interview for a new graduate assistantship or just to keep their interviewing skills up to par. Even if you do not plan on attending TPE, I would recommend you take advantage of an opportunity like this. You will have to interview for any job you apply for, so you might as well practice, practice, practice! 

I volunteered for TPE last year, so I was aware of the setting, but for those that are unaware, I think that the mock exchange is very helpful. Most of us are not used to being in a room with multiple people interviewing at the same time; however, by creating this atmosphere, candidates will be better prepared when attending TPE. I went through mock placement this year and I believe it helped tremendously. Our mock placement was no pretend either! Everyone was in full interview attire, resumes in hand, and prepared to impress their prospective employer. Although there was no formal prep check-in or discussion, there were workshops available to candidates after the interviews concluded. The workshops included job negotiations, how to sell your strengths, and finding the best fit. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience because I was able to practice my interviewing skills, have professionals critique my resume and offer me feedback on how to respond to certain questions.  

If your institution does not offer this type of opportunity for its graduate students, I would highly suggest you contact the administration team and request this for the division. It is a great networking opportunity amongst staff and graduate students, as well as professional development.  

Jonathan Davey

Student Affairs - the First Years

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