Mix It Up Week 4 Interviewing Strategies

Structuring the Conversation

You are meeting with your mixed group for an hour today to collaborate on strategies for successful interviews. Below is an outline for how we encourage you to use this time, but we also encourage you as a group to think about what you’d like to accomplish together.

Introductions (10 mins)

You’re in a mixed group of people across modules and programs. Start by getting to know each other and make space for everyone to share:

  • Names
  • Pronouns
  • Program & Cohort
  • What brought you to Turing? OR What do you want your career to look like as a software developer?

Establishing Group Norms (8-10 mins)

Here are some suggested norms to start with:

  • Make space. Everyone should be given a chance to share.
  • Be present. Take a break from your projects and show up to this conversation.
  • Make this time valuable. What intention can you set for your time today? How can you demonstrate that you value the other students in your group? How can they let you know that they value you?

Please discuss any additional norms you would like to set as a group!

Group Discussion (35 mins)

  1. Learning Goals:

    • Individually, write down one thing you’d like to get out of today’s discussion on the topic of interviewing. If you feel comfortable, please share this intention with the group as you get started.
  2. Storytelling practice. An interview is how companies get to know you; however, there’s a lot to cover in a short amount of time. It’s important to be able to tell your professional story in a way that allows someone to get to know you quickly.

    • Take 5 minutes to review your story and get your main talking points in your head. Hint: use the questions “who are you,” “why are you here,” and “What’s next” to help you prepare.
    • Practice sharing your story with the rest of the group and keep it to about 2 minutes per person (shorter is even better!). Provide feedback for each other that is specific, actionable, and kind around how they could make the story more concise and clear.
  3. Practice talking about projects. Sharing your experience with your technical projects will show employers that you have the skills and mindsets that they’re looking for, but we often don’t spend enough time preparing for these answers. Take 5-10 minutes to write down answers to the following questions about 1 or more of your recent projects. Then share out your answers to each other:

    • What was the purpose of the project? How could you sum it up in 1-2 sentences?
    • What steps did you take to set up the project for success?
    • What challenges did you face? How did you work to overcome them?
    • What are you most proud of from this project?
  4. Practice talking about specific experiences. Review the following common interview questions and spend 5-10 minutes jotting down some answers. For each of the following common interview questions, discuss:

    • What is the underlying question here? Why is someone asking this? What do they want to learn about you? For example, “Name a time where you worked on a team and a conflict occurred” is really asking “Are you empathetic?”
    • What should you include in your answer to provide what they’re looking for?
    • What should you be aware of not sharing? Another way to think about this: how can you spin a negative experience into something that shows your strengths or growth mindset?

    • Common interview question #1: Describe a time that you failed or made a mistake. What did you do? What was the outcome?
    • Common interview question #2: What is your approach to working on a team?
    • Common interview question #3: What are the steps you take to solve a problem?

Close Out & Next Steps (5 mins)

Review the learning goals you set out to achieve today. Did you make progress? What are you proud of? What wins can you take away from this conversation today? Finally, how could you continue building relationships and sharing advice this Mix It Up group outside of today’s conversation?