Mock Interview & Resume Review Workshop

Background

September 2016, I tweeted that I’d volunteer time to help a few people at DerbyCon who struggle with anxiety during interviews. I’d just come off of a 2 week hiring sprint and saw a lot of candidates with great technical skills who failed miserably when it came to answering “soft” questions. I thought spending a couple of hours with struggling folks at DerbyCon would be a simple way to give back to the community that’s given me so much.

Response was overwhelming and it became pretty clear that the community needed more help than I would be able to give in a few short hours. I published 2 Google forms - One for volunteers to help and the other for participants. Somewhere along the way, DerbyCon organizers caught wind of the project and generously offered a room to conduct mock interviews and resume reviews. Just like that, a workshop was born.

I’m setting up this Gist with the hope that sharing my format, forms, guidelines, and lessons learned will inspire folks to take the lead on this endeavor at other conferences (I’m looking at you, BSides organizers). The need is there and plenty of people are willing to help. My hope is that putting my experience out there will encourage others to conduct, improve, and expand this workshop througout the Infosec community.

Format

  1. Google Form - Volunteer Interviewer

  • Interviewer criteria (this isn’t a place to practice interviewing skills - experience required)

  • Interviewer guidelines (soft questions, skill assessments, expectations)

  1. Google Form - Participants

  • Resume (printed copy or laptop - no thumb drives)

  • Narrow to one or two areas that need the most work

  1. Space - Room should accommodate separate tables for participants to ensure a bit of comfort and privacy.

  2. Badges - This is up to the organizer, but I found it helpful to have unique badge for volunteers so participants could spot them.

  3. Survival kits - My participants loved this. I included tissues, mini deodorant, breath mints, comb, nail file, ChapStick, and a USB drive with resume and interview tips, along with sample questions to practice.

  4. Signage - You’ll need to make a sign. I made a Mean Girls Pwn Book sign and will put it on GitHub, but feel free to get creative with your own sign. I’d avoid a corporate look since the goal is to put folks at ease. Note: my easel sign was 16x20 and it was too small. Check with conference organizers to see if they’ll provide easel and ask if they have a standard sign size they’re using. I’d recommend at least 20x24, but 24x36 is pretty standard.

  5. Sponsor - Badges, Survival Kits, & Signage all cost money. I’d encourage you to seek out sponsorship. As a guide, I put everything together for $350 (30 survival kits, 30 participant badges, 15 volunteer badges, 16x20 easel sign, 8x10 door sign).

  6. Clean up - Keep a person or two around to help break down.

  7. Lessons Learned - This is really important. It’s the only way the workshop will grow and improve.