The thrill of interviewing someone is not knowing quite what they’re going to say next. It often proves the edgiest part of my Employability Express workshops for people in their late teens whose teachers have invited me in to try to build their self belief ahead of a job or college interview.
After a series of confidence building games, we reach the climax. I carefully set out two chairs. I pick up my video camera and microphone. “Who’s brave enough sit opposite me in this seat, let me conduct a mock interview, and film it, right now, in front of the class?” I ask.
The silence can last a long time. But there’s always one winner, eventually. I write ‘winner’, because I think that’s how they feel once they’ve allowed me to ask them what they’ve learnt today, what their goals are — how they’ll approach that interview for college or a job now.
My latest winner was Ellyn, a 15 year old who had told me she lacked the confidence simply to go near people she didn’t know. And yet, she took the challenge. She revealed to my microphone that she dreamt of being an architect. She kept a notebook, filling it with photos of buildings that caught her eye. Rudyard Kipling’s Sussex home, Batemans, was a favourite. I stopped the interview there. She’d shown passion for something, and that’s what will make her employable. One day, I hope, as an architect.