Want a deeper look at how mock interviews work as part of your study abroad and internship program? Let Hayley Ni Bhriain, CAPA Dublin’s Senior Program Coordinator, take you through each step of the process and shed some light into how this experience will be beneficial as you prepare to interview for future internships, jobs, and graduate school opportunities.
Generally, in life, you only get one chance to ace an interview—but what if you had the opportunity to do a practice run?
As part of CAPA's Remote Global Internship Course (GIC), students will attend a professional mock interview toward the end of the semester which takes place via Zoom. While it is a mock interview, students will get the most out of this experience by treating it like a real interview, in which they'll use their remote internship experience as part of their answers.
This assignment gives students the opportunity to synthesize and articulate aspects of their internship experiences and academic course learning, such as the personal and professional development skills gained and/or honed by interning remotely for a foreign company or organization. It also helps students understand an interview application process and how to best prepare for future interviews.
Students will choose a realistic internship, job, or graduate program that they would like to apply for—keeping in mind that the more realistic the position, the more beneficial the experience will be. Once they have selected a position, they submit this along with their updated resume and cover letter. Their updated resume and cover letter must be tailored specifically for the position they would like to ‘apply’ for and should include their remote international internship experience.
CAPA then coordinates professionals to interview the students. In advance of the interviews, these professionals review the students’ resumes and cover letters with a fine-tooth comb. They look at the layout of the documents, identify any spelling and grammar errors, make sure the student has mirrored the position description in their resume and cover letter, and ensure that the student has mentioned their remote internship experience.
For the interview itself, students are expected to dress professionally and be on time—just like a real interview. The interviewer often acts as an employee of the organization being interviewed for, which makes the process feel even more realistic! The interviewer will ask questions that are based on the position the student has applied for, as well as questions that relate to their resume and cover letter. During the interview, the interviewer will take notes on the student’s performance. At the end of the interview, the student will be given feedback on their overall performance; taking into account their answers, use of professional or informal language, (lack of) screen or eye contact, body language, and recommendations for a future interview. The student also receives feedback on their resume and cover letter, which they can use as they go on to apply for internships, jobs, and grad school after their CAPA program.
With the current pandemic and huge focus on remote working, students interning remotely will be encouraged to illustrate the skills that they have developed through interning abroad remotely. As our CAPA students are interning across the globe, they face new challenges with time management and communication skills; having to navigate time zones and adapt to new communication styles (not just culturally speaking, but gaining new virtual communication skills too). Most students are also taking classes alongside their internship, so they need to be highly organized in balancing their coursework and internship duties while maintaining a positive work/life balance. Through the GIC class, students will also work on a collaborative group project, demonstrating their capability of being able to collaborate with peers remotely. All of these skills contribute towards students’ career-readiness, with a particular emphasis on being adaptable and flexible in light of the current global pandemic.
My advice for students gearing up to do the mock interview is to treat this as a real interview, choose a realistic position to apply for, take time to update your resume and cover letter, do some interview preparation in advance, test your equipment beforehand, dress professionally, be on time, don’t forget to make eye contact, and remember to take into account the feedback you receive from your interviewer.
This is a unique opportunity to hear and see yourself in an interview setting, so dress up, show up, and give it your best!
Feeling motivated? See what some of our summer 2020 students had to say about their mock interviews:
The mock interviews provided by CAPA are rare and high-quality tools for gaining insight into performing interviews well. A mock interview given by a qualified professional is something that everyone can gain from, and is quite a cut above other resources for preparing for interviews. I am glad to have experienced one.
—Eric Wei, University of Pittsburgh
It’s always hard to tell how interviews go because they’re so nerve-wracking and can be such a blur, so to have the chance to practice my skills in a controlled environment where I could get feedback and later watch my recorded interview to make adjustments was so beneficial. My interviewer didn’t give any hint that the interview wasn’t real and asked complex, realistic questions which allowed me to fully immerse myself in the experience, but the stakes were also low enough that I had room to make mistakes and learn. I had originally picked the group I “mock interviewed” for because I was interested in applying for a job there after college. However, shortly after my mock interview I learned that they also had undergraduate internships. Despite my nervousness about how competitive the process would be, the fact that I had already researched the organization so extensively and gotten such useful critical feedback while pretending to interview for them made me feel more confident. Much to my delight I actually got the internship, and it has been, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had thus far. I’m very grateful to CAPA for providing me with an experience where I was able to practice and get feedback on skills that eventually landed me an internship in my dream organization.
—Lauren Phillips-Jackson, Lafayette College, PA
When I was in the process of trying to decide if I wanted to complete a remote global internship through CAPA: The Global Education Network, one of the biggest components of the program that stood out to me was the Mock Interview...Before I had my Mock Interview, I spent a great deal of time preparing my resume and my cover letter, but also preparing my mindset. I knew I needed to go into the interview with a strong purpose for why I was there and that it was important to remind myself that I can do this. Once the Mock Interview started, I began to think to myself how grateful I am for this experience. I learned many great tips afterwards from my interviewer, and now, I feel better prepared for when I will enter a job interview in the near future. I truly learned how valuable it is to be yourself, because the skills and experience you have matter for the position you are applying for, but having trust in yourself is imperative to entering an interview that may change your life.
—Katelyn Dewberry, Averett University, VA
Related blog posts:
How a CAPA Dublin Internship Helped Kickstart My Career
My Top 3 Takeaways from the CAPA Global Internship Course
An Internship with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland
My Experience with the CAPA Global Internship Course & Mock Interview
Hayley Ni Bhriain is the Senior Program Coordinator in our CAPA Dublin Center. From orientation week to the farewell dinner, Hayley works with our students every step of the way during their time in Dublin!