Ah, student caller interviews.

It’s that time of year again – phone campaign time!

I adore working with students; they have fresh ideas, they’re fun to supervise, they seem to genuinely enjoy calling alumni. But sometimes finding a phone campaign team can be awkward, unintentionally hilarious or just plain confusing. And that’s just the interview panel. (Ba-dum-tish.)

Here’s a compilation of the best and the oddest answers students have given me in caller interviews – let’s start with the not-so-good…

It was probably the nerves
Me: Which qualities do you think make you a good caller?
Student: Erm… I might be convincing? No, yes I’m definitely convincing. I think.

If you’re asked to prepare, please prepare!
Me: I asked you to come ready to talk about a charity you care about.
Student: I haven’t really prepared anything.
Me: Ok… well, have a think just now about a charity that means something to you.
Student: *pauses, then talks incoherently about international aid*

Maybe don’t mention *just* the drinking…
Me: What do you like most about being a student here?
Student: The nightlife, drink is really cheap, I’m very sociable and I like going to the union bar, did I say the drink is cheap? Cos the drink is cheap!

And now the ones that made me smile for the right reasons:

Case for support? Nailed it!
Me: Tell me about a charity you care about.
Student: *speaks with passion and in detail about small charity local to their home town*
Me: *internally cheering*

Relationship building goals!
Me: You might need to call alumni who did a different subject to you. How would you approach this?
Student: Well, we have the university in common so I’d start there! Then I’d ask about their time as a student, what they did after uni, have they been back since they graduated, that kind of thing!
Me: *internally cheering*

Who’s cutting onions in here?
Me: What do you hope to gain from being a caller?
Student: I love my course and I love being a student, the university has given me so much. I’m the first one to go to uni in my family and I couldn’t be here without my scholarship. It means so much to me that people would give money so I can get a degree, I want to say thank you and I want to give something back by raising more money for more students to come here too. Oh and this sounds like fun! Who wouldn’t want to talk to alumni?!
Me: *internally cheering through happy tears*

Students are great, and their enthusiasm reminds me why I love my job. What’s your favourite caller interview story?





3 thoughts on “Ah, student caller interviews.

  1. My favourite is the one you and I did at St Andrews where the student couldn’t think of anything to say. About anything at all. “How would you try to convince an alumnus to make a gift to the University?” “Ummm, I don’t know.”


  2. I once asked a caller – in an Oxbridge college why they wanted the job to which they replied “People say my communications skills arent very good and I thought this job might improve them.” A rare moment when I didnt know what to say!


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