In job interviews you may be asked a number of questions by prospective employers. What they will be looking for is something that you’ve gained from what you’ve experienced of life. And that includes university.
So you’re sitting in an interview. A skilled human resources (HR) person is grilling you with questions such as: “How do you manage conflicts? What are your weaknesses/ strengths? Can you tell me of a time when…?”. If any of your answers to these and other questions are scripted, you are bound to be caught out.
You will be asked follow up questions that, unless your answers are coming from authentic experiences, will reveal that you are lacking. That is why being proactive in university is so crucial, because it enables you to actually go through experiences and in turn helps make you more self-aware so you can actually be able to portray an accurate picture of yourself.
However, the real reason why the HR people are asking you those questions is because they want to see if you are a fit for their business. Which means, the competencies which they are asking about, are actual, real life competencies that you will be using in their organization if hired.
Mpumelelo Kunene, who is on Standard Bank Group’s IT Graduate Programme 2013, says there are three competencies that he learned in his campus experience that have been, and will continue, helping him at work.
1. Managing resources Let’s be frank. Right now, at university, you have the most amounts of free time and free money (yes, free money!) that you will ever have from here onwards. When you start working, everything becomes more complex as there are so many demands from both personal and professional life. I have found that because I was involved at university in managing projects whilst also focusing on my studies, I am better prepared to handle this increased complexity and demand because I’ve been involved in situations that are similar, granted, to a much lesser complexity degree, but similar nonetheless.
2. Managing people This is by far the competency I appreciate the most. In order to be a valuable manner of a corporate work-force, you need to learn how to not only tolerate but appreciate people who are different from you in both thought and creed in. In university, whether leading or being led by different kinds of people in student projects, I learned so much from them that my own personal culture was greatly enriched and has enabled me to work with and befriend people who are different from me in the working world with relative ease.
3. Managing my perceptions and attitude And finally, in being involved in projects I learned that I am seriously handicapped without the input of others, I learned that my attitude towards work could either positively or negatively affect the whole team, and I learned that leadership hierarchy is there for a reason, so sometimes I have to do some work even if I don’t necessarily like it. If it needs to be done, I have to do it. There are many more benefits of joining, but hopefully these few have spurred you on toward joining a group.