“I will do my best.”

Today, I made a student cry.
I had to backpedal and bestow praise, before she tuned me out completely.

Last week and this, I’ve been working at Hongik University and a few others around Seoul giving mock interviews to college students. This is my first uni experience in Korea. Kids here seem like students back home in that some are impressively focused, while many are motivated by money without a solid career plan.

Today, I witnessed a textbook example of what not to do in an interview. Poor girl had no clue. She gave such self-centered responses, I told her if we were in a real interview, I would have ended the interview after 10 minutes and sent her home.

For our mock interview for a marketing job @Samsung, consider—


I continued the interview through gritted teeth, so I could give KeeJeong feedback at the end. Maybe I should have stopped her and reframed the conversation earlier. I don’t think she once considered a POV outside her own, let’s just say during this interview, and not be obnoxious and say her entire life.

Many of my other students had lower English proficiency but greater substance and were able to explain how their experiences prepared them for a position and why they were personally drawn to a career.

KeeJeong, bless her heart, had nothing more to say about marketing than you should be social to do a good job. She seemed genuinely shocked to receive critical feedback.

So to reel her in from tuning me out, I said, “your answers sucked not you.”
We talked about how the company’s needs > hers, and then I asked her to brainstorm some of her experiences, so she could practice connecting them with the company’s needs.

Self-promotion and networking ought to be taught to every high school and university student. “I will do my best” is no substitute for how you’re going to get a job done.

The bigger issue is that KeeJeong graduates in five months and doesn’t know what she wants to do. I hope KeeJeong heard my suggestion to visit the career center.

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