Mock Interviews Prepare Students for Real Success

Students will have a chance to exercise their interviewing skills, no matter what shape they’re currently in, with representatives from local and national companies during Georgia Tech Career Services’ sixth annual Mock Interview Week.

The week is an opportunity for students to receive feedback on interviewing skills with companies related to their fields of study or intended career paths. Both students and employers are expected to prepare for the interview as if it were for an actual position; employers receive resumes of students they will be interviewing, and students are expected to research the company and industry.

“We try to make sure everyone is prepared in advance so it’s really like an actual interview,” said Kevin Stacia, career specialist at Georgia Tech Career Services. “It’s designed so students can ask questions and get feedback prior to recruiting season.”

In the past, about 500 students and 50 companies have participated in the event. Students can choose which representative or company they want to interview with by signing up through CareerBuzz from Dec. 20 to Jan. 17. Then, depending on the number of slots still available, students may choose to sign up for additional interviews.

Two different interview formats are offered: behavioral and case interviews. Behavioral interviews are more traditional, asking interviewees to talk about themselves and draw from past scenarios to answer questions. Case interviews, often used by consulting companies, said Stacia, present interviewees with an actual client situation from the company and ask for solutions using problem solving and critical thinking skills. Companies often mix the two interview styles, and students can choose to interview in one of the two formats or in a combination.

For Scott Almand, a fifth-year management major, participation in Mock Interview Week was required for a career development class he took in Spring 2010; but after the experience, he was thankful for the requirement.

“Not having a lot of interview experience, you don’t realize some things you do subconsciously,” Almand said. He said it was beneficial to “get in front of someone who does that for a living, but not be in the high stakes of trying to get the job.” 

Though Almand’s interview ended up being with a company unrelated to his career goals, he still recommends participation to any student approaching his last year at Tech. He recently endured job recruitment season and received his top choice offer, and he attributes some of that success to the mock interviewing experience. 

Added this year — on Tuesday, Jan. 25 — is a day of Skype interviews, which Stacia said are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Students conduct these interviews using webcams at Career Services, and preparation tips for Skype interviews have been added to the Career Services website.

Interviews last around 45 minutes, with 30 minutes devoted to the interview itself and 15 to feedback. Students can sign up for interviews through CareerBuzz at career.gatech.edu