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MOCK INTERVIEW: For a demonstration of the InterviewStream system, click the play button above

University launches new mock
webcam job interview tool

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The "cyber job interview" has come to Slippery Rock University. The University's Office of Career Services is now offering students and alumni opportunities to practice webcam interviews in anticipation of one day facing the real thing.

"Many companies are already employing use of remote interviews making use of webcams. Such interviews help the company contact more people more quickly, and avoid the expense of bringing the candidate in, or asking the candidate to bear some of the expense for transportation and lodging if distance is involved. It also allows the company to broaden its search outside the immediate area when looking for a prospective employee," said John Rindy, director of SRU's Office of Career Services.

"Like it or not, the day of the webcam interview is here. The new system we are offering allows students and alumni to be thinking about and preparing for what is certain to become a common step in the job search process," Rindy said.

SRU has linked with InterviewStream, a video-interviewing tool. The system allows a user to create and practice a mock interview so they are prepared when they find a potential employer that uses remote, webcam interviews as part of its hiring process. It also allows a job candidate to simply practice for a regular face-to-face interview.

When using the system, a student can select a pre-set list of general job interview practice questions, or select from a list of specific questions directly related to their field of study. Once the system is engaged, a mock interviewer, seen by the prospective employee, asks the selected questions and the student has up to two minutes to provide an answer. The entire interview is recorded and loaded to a "cloud-based" storage facility. The student can then send the interview electronically to faculty, staff in the Career Services Office or others for review, feedback and tips.

"The student can also review the video to see how well they think they answered the questions. They can make notes of what things they might change or add the next time they are asked a similar question and they can re-record a session to see if they have improved," Rindy said.

"Of course, we stress that the student dress appropriately for the mock interview and that they offer the best responses possible. We think their responses will improve as they review the video and receive feedback from others. Repeated practice will certainly provide a benefit when it comes time for a real webcam interview," Rindy said.

Faculty can make use of the system by recording specific questions such as those a student presenting at an academic conference might face. "By using this system, we can help students prepare for such questions - and see how they think their answers come across before they reach the conference or presentation," Rindy said.

SRU is trying the system for a year, Rindy said. "If students make good use of it and find it beneficial, we will find a way to continue our subscription."

While SRU is among the institutions leading the adoption of mock remote webcam interview tools within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, there is a move afoot that would allow other PASSHE universities to also join the program, Rindy said.

Students, faculty or alumni interested in using the system should visit: http://sru.interviewstream.com. Once registered, the dashboard offers simple instructions and tutorials. Faculty interested in creating question sets related to their courses should contact Career Services at 724.738.2028.

"For those who do not have a webcam, the Office of Career Services has set up a computer in our lab that is fully equipped," Rindy said.