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PIP prepares Hamline Pipers

Hamline’s Practice Interview Program provided great learning experiences to undergraduate students.

Sabrina Merritt, Reporter

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Having fears about the professional world? Hamline is here to help. Through the week of April 9 – 13, the Career Development Center (CDC) held a week of practice interviews for Hamline students. Practice Interview Program (PIP), provides mock interviews to prepare for the competitive market.

   PIP began as a voluntary program of 57 students nearly 15 years ago. Now, the program has expanded into a biannual event held in fall and spring semesters, with participation required by several courses. Students work to prepare a resume, select a mock position or organization to apply for. After this is done, students spend roughly 50 minutes to meet with an interviewer, many of who are Hamline alumni. According to Program Coordinator Sarah Hurliman, nearly 450 students now take advantage of the week.

  The spring practice interview week has been Hurliman’s second round of coordinating  PIP this year. Hurliman, who began working at Hamline in September, spent three months communicating with professors, networking with potential interviewers, and meeting with hundreds of students to set up interview times. But to Hurliman, the hard work paid off for a unique student experience.

“Pretty much any college would let students do mock interviews with career counselors in career offices, there are not as many schools that have a bigger, formal program,” Hurliman says. One feature of that sets PIP apart is the strive to find students interviewers within the student’s intended field.  

Though third-time interviewee senior Courtney Yokes has never been interviewed by a person in the creative writing field, she says that does not take away from the experience.

“Instead, I’ve actually been able to learn where I could apply my education in different areas, like legal, when I interview with people outside of my field,” she states. To Yokes, each interview she has experienced has given her new skills and insight, which what kept her coming back after her first time required by a class.

Sophomore Jacci Stein, who recently participated in her first PIP interview, also spoke highly of her experience. After some initial uncertainties found that her interviewer gave her great confidence. Stein was given tips on the best ways to format resumes or how approach interviewer questions (start with the big picture, narrow it down, and end with your contributions).

“I even had a Breakfast Club fist-in-the-air moment of victory as I was walking out the door because I was that related with how things had gone,” Stein said.

Seeing students gain comfort throughout the interview process is Hurliman’s favorite part. She sees so many students enter interviews nervous or disinterested, but leave with a completely different, positive demeanor. Interviewers too seem to enjoy themselves.

“We have interviewers come back year after year because they really just like connecting with students,” says Hurliman.

While the Practice Interview Program only occurs twice a year, the CDC is always ready to help students master their professional skills. The center is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in Drew Science 113.  


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PIP prepares Hamline Pipers