Last week on 23 September, Christel House South Africa, a non-profit school in Ottery (Cape Town), hosted a successful speed interview event where Human Resource professionals from leading organisations interviewed the school’s Grade 12 students. The purpose of this unique, annual event is to help prepare the students for the new world of work and to hone their interview skills.
In line with social distancing guidelines, the event took place virtually using video conferencing technology. A total of 15 experienced HR professionals made up the interview panel and were from a wide variety of industries, including the banking, property, hospitality, and technology sectors. The group of 38 grade 12 students were subdivided into smaller interview groups and paired with an HR professional from an industry that they have a strong interest in entering. Students then had one-on-one interview sessions for which they had to prepare a CV, researched the company prior to the interview, and then given mock interview scenarios to adapt to. The interviewer then scored each student using an online review sheet and provided them with constructive feedback ranging from how well prepared they were and how honestly they answered the questions to their interview etiquette.
The event forms part of Christel House’s comprehensive Careers Program which provides career education, guidance, and support to its students from age five, when they enter the school in Grade R, to five years post matric when they start their professional careers. Christel House SA is a no-fee school and all of its students come from some of the most underserved and under-resourced communities on the Cape Flats. Yet, through the school’s character-based and career-focused education model, they are supported into gainful employment. Currently, 93% of Christel House’s alumni cohort are studying or employed, compared to the national average of 68%.
“I have learnt so much about the world of work, having to be conscious of the challenges that I might face at a workplace. From an inexperienced persons point of view that still needs to go into the world of work, I have learnt that being on time is of importance, that at first you might make mistakes and most of all to always make the most of any situation. It was a very fruitful session, I
know for a fact that myself and all the matric’s that were interviewed, learnt so much,” said Zarah Alias, a Grade 12 student at Christel House South Africa.
Occasions like the Speed Interview event is crucial in exposing students to the world of work but also valuable in engaging corporate partners to develop internship, learnership and employment opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The current economic climate is tough and even tougher for those who are just starting out in the work force. This event aimed to give our matric students some experience in compiling their own CV’s, conducting themselves professionally in interviews, and having the opportunity to talk one-on-one to experienced professionals,” says Louise de Marillac st Julien, Career Development Manager at Christel House SA.
Christel House SA would like to express a special thank you to the following organisations who took part in the Speed Interview event: Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Amdec Group, CHEP, Cape Grace Hotel, City of Cape Town, Dell South Africa, Make a Difference Leadership Foundation, Maersk, Microsoft South Africa, PayGate, RCI, The Real CV Guru, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, the University of Cape Town and weFix.
Individuals or companies who would like to provide internship or work opportunities for Christel House’s students, can contact Christel House SA’s Career Development Department on 021 704 9441/2 or 084 580 4081.