By Devin O’Keefe, CTP/PRO Customer Service & Administrative Training Graduate
Google opened its doors to students and staff of the Computer Technologies Program on Friday, June 28 for an interviewing workshop at the data giant’s San Francisco offices. The workshop was the result of a collaboration between Google, CTP and fellow nonprofit HandsOn Bay Area.
“We try to make it easy for everyone to just come out and give and receive,” said Ashia Brown, events specialist at HandsOn Bay Area. The nonprofit organization helps connect volunteers with service opportunities.
Prior to the event, CTP students prepared by studying common job interview questions and engaging in mock interviews with each other. This helped us get more comfortable with interviewing before heading to the workshop.
At the workshop, Google employees broke the ice by describing their roles in the company and sharing some of their best and worst interviewing experiences. The “Googlers” also shared advice they had learned in the course of their careers.
Debra Pinzon-Hamilton, Strategic & Technology Contracts Negotiator at Google, gave insight into the interviewer’s side of things. “Sometimes I don’t have my thoughts well organized,” she said. “It’s really helpful if the interviewee asks for clarification, states assumptions, and restates questions.”
John Froelich, Strategic Partner Lead at Google, suggested that interviewees explain their thought process. “Here’s my thoughts on this. Here’s my response. Here’s the outcome,” he said. “Pair your response with a tangible outcome. Be specific.” Froelich also urged attendees to put thought into their answers during an interview: “Take a pause when you hear a question,” he said. “Replay it in your head. I’ve found the people who do that put a lot of thought into their answers.”
“Interviewing is a skill,” said Chase Robins, of Google’s Strategy & Operations Department. “Tie your answers back to the job you’re seeking and to prior experience.”
After the introductions, Google employees interviewed CTP students one-on-one, then offered feedback on the students’ interviewing technique and resumes.
Robins was one of the Googlers I interviewed with. He and John Froelich, my other mock-interviewer, gave me helpful feedback on my interviewing skills as well as my resume. Robins encouraged me to include “soft skills” on my resume, such as management and teamwork experience, as well as technical proficiencies.
“I found it overall to be helpful,” said Alex U., a recent graduate of CTP’s Computer Technician Training course. “I received a lot of feedback that I’m going to take into consideration in my career path.”
PRO Customer Service & Administrative Training graduate Susan F. also found the event helpful. “I thought my interviewer had some good advice about being assertive,” she said. “I was surprised by how invested the Googlers were in helping us.”
“I did better than I thought I would,” said CTP PRO student Joseph J. Jr. “I took some pressure off myself and received some useful feedback. I liked the environment. I liked the energy there. I liked the camaraderie. I could see myself working there.”