Fifth Annual Mock Interview Day: Preparing Students for Technical interviews

 |   MSNE Staff

Employee Student Resume Review

Breaking into a technical field as a recent graduate can be nerve-wracking — and there’s no doubt the field is becoming more competitive.

For the fifth year in a row, we were thrilled to invite students from the New England region and beyond to Mock Interview Day at Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (NERD).

Mock Interview Day is an event hosted by our employee resource groups to help students from diverse backgrounds prepare for the technical recruitment process. We know that opportunities to learn these techniques prior to stepping into your first interview are limited. This event fills that gap. Our employee volunteers take on the role as mentor and provide students direct feedback on their interview skills and resumés, giving them the tools to ace their first in-person interview.

We’re proud this important event is growing in popularity. This year, on October 15, we hosted more than 100 students and recent graduates from over 20 colleges, universities, and technical programs.

The day began with opening remarks from Tarikh Campbell, inclusion program manager, and NERD General Manager Terrell Cox. They welcomed students and detailed the impact and opportunity this day brings.

Terrell Cox, NERD GM, welcomes students to Mock Interview Day.
Terrell Cox, NERD GM, welcomes students to Mock Interview Day.

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on this planet to achieve more, and this mock interview and resumé review workshop is one of the best examples that I can think of,” Cox said. “We want you to walk into your first interview with confidence.”

Cox advised the students to embrace a growth mindset — as opposed to a fixed mindset — when approaching the interview process. 

“Ask questions. Make mistakes. This is a safe place for you to learn and embrace the growth,” she said. 

Engineers, data scientists, project managers, and people in non-technical sales roles then all took to the podium to demonstrate the interview process for the students. They provided insight into what it’s like to interview for specific teams and roles at Microsoft.

“Just because you’re not a computer science major doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole host of career paths here at Microsoft for you.” — Peter Lurie, Incubation Technical Specialist

At Mock Interview Day, more than 100 students take home skills to empower them in technical interviews.
At Mock Interview Day, more than 100 students take home skills to empower them in technical interviews.

In the second half of the day, the students split off into two groups.

 A student receives resumé feedback from one of our employee volunteers.
A student receives resumé feedback from one of our employee volunteers.

The first group participated in a resumé workshop with our own Minsoo Thigpen, a PM for MAIDAP. Students sat at round tables with a variety of employees who reviewed the resumés and provided tips and feedback based on which career path they seek.

The second group of students took to the elevators to break off into one-on-one mock interviews. The employee volunteers took a deeper dive guiding them through the technical interview process and answered any questions they had. After an hour in each activity, both groups switched places. At the event’s conclusion, we celebrated with light bites and networking.

Annie Dinh, a senior at Northeastern University, at Mock Interview Day.
Annie Dinh, a senior at Northeastern University, at Mock Interview Day.

Each year, this event empowers students with skills and confidence. This year was no different.

Issac Kontomah, a senior at MIT, at Mock Interview Day.
Issac Kontomah, a senior at MIT, at Mock Interview Day.

“I always had a fear that if I cannot answer the questions [in an interview] that everything is over,” said Annie Dinh, a senior studying computer science at Northeastern University. “The engineer that did the mock interview with me told me the process of working through the problem, recognizing that you’re stuck, and being able to backtrack and take another path.”

Another student, Issac Kontomah, a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he learned a lot about proper resumé structure and plans to use what he learned while preparing for the upcoming recruitment process. 

Learn more about Mock Interview Day in the video below.

Mock Interview Day Video

Here at Microsoft NERD, we love to discover, teach, tinker, learn, and bring out the best in each other. If you do too, we’d love to have you join us in empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Browse careers here.