Linux and PHP web application support and development (Bromsgrove, UK)

Gregynog 2011 – Interviewing feedback

Today, I interviewed a number of second year Aberystwyth Computer Science students at Gregynog. The aim of the exercise is to help prepare them for upcoming industrial placement interviews.

As a whole, the students were better this year – their CVs and covering letters had fewer obvious mistakes and appeared better prepared. The majority of students were also smartly dressed which gave a good impression.

However, many students undersell themselves – CVs were often missing reference to work they’d done outside their degree scheme – or the extent of the reference was “Perl” or “Python”. Yet, in one example a student had written a Python/MySQL GUI application and others had experimented with JQuery, CSS3 or HTML5.

Most students expressed a deep interest or passion in a specific field – yet they would often lack supporting “evidence” of self directed research. Being able to mention a mailing list / google group / relevant website / conference or hot topic within that field would lend credibility to the claim – employers want employees who are genuinely motivated and interested.

Finally – it was common to see students saying something like “It will help me in my degree to work for you as I’ll learn to do X and Y”. Unsurprisingly an employer is not likely to be interested in what the student will get from the employment period – they are interested in what benefits the student will bring to them and their team.

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