Developing Interview Skills Through Practice

But the best part of the day was getting to meet and getting to know the mock interviewees. So many of them were self-taught and transitioning to a brand-new career. A few even had their first technical interview in our mock interview setting. Everyone was excited to know that they’d get real feedback afterward, and not just a pass/fail response. Our interviewers all filled out a scorecard to grade on various criteria, including:

  • Demonstrates a strong grasp of core functional/technical skills expected at this level
  • Shows curiosity and initiative
  • Capably articulated an approach to a previous project
  • What’s something this person could improve for their next interview?
  • What’s something this person did really well in this interview?

Besides giving direct feedback on their interviews, we wanted to provide a setting to the mock candidates where they’d experience how interviews should feel. Interviews should be challenging, and maybe even a bit stressful, but the interviewers themselves should be kind and respectful. We hope that by giving them a realistic experience, they’ll be empowered to treat future interviews as a 2-way conversation.

At the end of the day, our guests packed up their notes and coffee mugs and headed home, awaiting the results of their interviews. Our interviewers put the final touches on their notes, and we started thinking about how we could offer similar events to other communities.

Looking ahead, our Recruiting team is organizing one such event in September at the Grace Hopper Celebration, which will focus on mentorship. And later this year, we’re working with Friends of Refugees to offer practice scenarios for interviewing at American companies. Here’s to making that process a little less terrifying, one practice conversation at a time.

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