Gator News

Students participate in Amazon mock interviews

By Andy Orr, program manager, BAS in Software Development, January 16, 2018

Technical interviews can be a stressful experience for college students who are looking for that first internship or job. Unlike interviewing in other fields, the typical technical interview usually focuses on a candidate’s knowledge of data structures and algorithms, and involves hand-coding solutions to problems on a whiteboard in front of a small audience of interviewers.

The point isn’t merely to write code on a whiteboard. It’s about the interviewee talking through what’s going on in her head, asking follow-up questions, and making an effort to collaborate with the interviewer to come up with a solution to the problem at hand.

This kind of back-and-forth reveals thought process and demonstrates the ability to communicate effectively. It shows how the interviewee goes about solving a problem, which is precisely what the interviewer is trying to get at.

Recognizing how difficult technical interviews can be, Amazon recently provided 25 Green River students with the opportunity to participate in mock technical interviews at its South Lake Union campus.

The goal of this unique pilot project: provide a safe space for diverse students to mock interview with Amazon engineers, then get real-time feedback on how well they performed.

“It was a great experience all around. Being able to interact with people at Amazon and be in their building made me feel a lot more comfortable with applying there. The interview process was good practice and the interviewers provided good feedback that will help with real technical interviews.”

— Chris K.

Mock interviews were organized across three tracks: Software Development Engineering, Technical and Non-Technical Program Management, and Product Management. Students were given the option to select a track in advance, then participated in two to three mock interviews.

“ It was an amazing opportunity. All in all it was an invaluable experience all devs should go through.”

— Nicholas P.

At the conclusion of the event, participating students were invited to an after-hours social mixer to debrief and network with Amazon employees.

“I had a wonderful first time technical interview experience. I received feedback and was able to feel much more confident if I get an interview in the future.”

— Mershelle R.

On behalf of Green River’s software development program, a big thank-you goes to Vania Kurniawati and the team of engineers and recruiters at Amazon who generously volunteered their time and expertise to make this event possible for students. Thank you for having us and we hope to participate again in 2018!

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