Preparing for an interview needs a lot of effort and energy. Unfortunately, there are some areas you cannot practice effectively by yourself. We (Qxf2) believe mock interviews help you learn where your strengths lie and where you may need to improve. So we thought of conducting mock interviews for our interns during our internship program.
Why this post:
I noticed many fresh engineering graduates struggle to express what they know during the interview process. Even deserving and technically sound students seem to lack self-confidence and struggle with expressing their ideas. This has bugged me. So, I wanted to take a stab at this problem when I designed and implemented Qxf2’s first internship program. My first attempt at producing a well-rounded syllabus was to introduce regular mock interviews for the interns. In this post, I am sharing how we conducted the mock interview, what benefit the interns got from it and what we learned from it. I am hoping more professionals with a training background can chime in and contribute ideas on how we can improve our internship program.
The mock interview process:
We created a panel which consists of three people. Our two interns went through three one-on-one interviews in one week. We did this three times during the internship – which meant our interns faced 9 one-on-one interviews each.
The questions were primarily from their resume i.e., project details and the technical skill they had listed out in the resume. Our interviewers also made sure they asked questions on the topics I had covered in the internship up until that point. During the interview, if the interns didn’t answer a question, we helped them with the correct answer and suggested how they could improve their answer. We thought asking questions was not only important but that helping them find the best answer is also important.
Once the interview process was over interviewers gave their feedback about the interns. They told about their strengths and skills to be improved in the feedback form.
A quiet advantage of the mock interview was that they got an opportunity to interact with senior people. Our interviewers ended up sharing some of their good technical experiences with them.
Benefits of the mock interview
We noticed our interns did better in the interviews they landed. Here were some of the benefits we noticed:
1. Interviewing is a skill:
I believe that you have to learn a technique and then you have to keep practicing it. So mock interview helped to improve the technique and it allowed the interns to get the feedback.
2. Prepare better answers for questions:
As I discussed already, our interviewers asked the questions and if the answer was lacking, they helped the interns frame better answers. So, our interns came to know how to answer for different types of questions. This is especially true for some standard questions like “tell me about yourself” and “do you have any questions for me”.
This process gave confidence to the interns. It made their interview processes more real and they were calmer and more poised when they did land interview calls.
What we learned:
This was our first attempt. So we made mistakes. We asked our interns how we can improve and these were their top suggestions:
1. One interview in one week:
Yes, As I already mentioned that we kept three interviews in one week. Our interns felt spreading out the interview process with one one-on-one interview in a week was better. So we decided to change this in our next internship program. This was good learning for us.
2. Real-world/practical questions:
The next point they mentioned here they wanted more realistic questions. They did not want whiteboard type of questions or theory-based questions. While attending regular interviews, (I am glad) they faced much more practical questions from the interviewer.
3. More than one interviewer in the interview
Usually, at other companies, the interview panel consists of more than one members. So they should be capable of answering the questions from two different persons. We still don’t have the solution for this problem since our team is remote and we provide flexible timings for all our employees.
Leave a comment below to start a conversation with me. I’d love to hear more ideas on how we can improve our mock interview process and help freshers express themselves better during interviews.