Week ending March 23rd, 2018
Content covered: Informational Interviews
In order to better understand the current landscape, I have been conducting informational interviews with current college students. The intent behind gathering information from this audience is muti-purpose; I’m interested in learning 4 primary things:
- What skills has college prepared them with?
- What skills do they wish they had learned in college?
- What challenges do they anticipate facing in the near future?
- What do they understand and desire from a course/series focused on Personal and Professional Development?
Now before I dive into where these questions came from, I’d like to mention a few things: first and foremost, I’m incredibly interested in how to best gather data through interviews (how to ask unbiased questions, making sure that my intent is being delivered, conveying the why and what I am trying to accomplish with this information, etc.) So needless to say: I am doing research on how to do research. And the most interesting finding thus far is: start with a list of answers and turn them into questions. Apparently, doing so ensures that you include all of the questions you need, and word them in a way that will get effective answers. (Seems like this might lead to conforming bias… hmm…)
Second: I do see the chicken and egg problem in this approach – which is why I am calling this an information interview. Asking college students what they think is important is not the best way to get good, unbiased or even completely relevant data. But it is a place to start understanding what my core audience desires (or thinks they desire) and even more importantly – why they think so.
In Report 5, I presented data from the industry; I used this information as my baseline for what skills “they” (the recruiters, hiring managers, etc.) would like to see undergraduates develop.
Primarily, what Employers are looking for from New Graduates is:
- Ability to work with others
- Ability to communicate (verbal and written)
- Ability to make decisions and problem solve
- Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
- Ability to influence others
- Ability to innovate/be creative
Which translates into the following buzz words that show up again and again in articles, conversations, reports, interviews – etc. Pretty much everyone agrees: developing skills (or developing skills MORE) in the following area is extremely beneficial:
- Work Ethic
- Apply skills and knowledge in new settings (or adaptability)
These five skills are what I am using as the industry primary subject domains, this is what the recruiters would like to see – and the premise around which the content within the Triquetra will be focused.
Today I hope to have given you a taste of the data mining that I’ve begun; it is a slow and iterative process. If you have any thoughts on questions, online tools to help, or sources for where to learn more about researching etiquette please do share!