A review by 4th year CS major, Andrew Ni
After recently being introduced with SkilledInc.com by UVA’s Career Center, I set out to learn more about the service. The process seemed simple enough:
- Interview one-on-one with a SkilledInc Mentor that has industry experience,
- Receive performance-based feedback from your interviewer,
- And obtain the necessary resources needed to succeed in job screening and searching.
What intrigued me the most about the service was the feedback you receive from the mentor after the interview, because more often than not, interviewers don’t tend to let you know how the interview went. You either proceed to the next round of the application or get a generic rejection email.
Once I felt confident in how SkilledInc worked, I requested a token from the Career Center which gave me the ability to request an interview. The interface was intuitive in setting up my account profile and finding out how to schedule my interview. I put my date availability preference in the slot, and there were multiple times to choose from throughout the day. However, when prompted the question of which subject field I was interested in interviewing for, I got confused. The subjects provided seemed very narrow in scope and as an undergraduate computer science student, I didn’t know exactly which specific field I was interested in pursuing. Therefore, I chose the Data Structures & Algorithms subject to keep it general. In my interviewing experience, software companies recruiting undergrad students will have a general software engineering track that will place you in a particular computing subject (eg. Cybersecurity, data, UI/UX, etc.) after you have accepted the offer and specified your interest.
After scheduling my interview 2 days out, I realized that I had a meeting conflict during that time. I did notice the SkilledInc policy of cancelling or rescheduling at least 24 hours after your interview time slot. However, when attempting to reschedule 2 days out, I found out that I was unable to do so which confused me. I had to bite the bullet and rearrange my other meeting time. I recommend when you are set your interview session, that you are confident in making that appointment.
The next step of the process was preparing for the interview. I cracked open my Cracking the Coding Interview book and brushed up on my data structures and algorithm concepts, answering practice questions along the way. On the SkilledInc website, I was able to know my interviewer’s name, email, and also his LinkedIn profile so I may have done a little stalking.
As I hopped onto the SkilledInc website to start my interview, I started to get nervous about the fact that I was being tested and reviewed. However, this feeling easily went away once my interviewer introduced himself and asked how he could tailor the session to my needs. During this introduction period, he asked specific questions about my strengths, weaknesses, academic/industry experience in computing. Focusing on computer science fundamentals, we proceeded with two technical interview questions on the built-in collaborative coding platform in the language of my choice. The first question revolved around bit manipulation and the second one focused on arrays and iterative structures. Throughout the problem-solving process, I was given guidance when needed and tips on how to improve. There was time at the end to ask questions, and I asked if he had any advice for someone in my position (4th year CS student ready to join the workforce). Overall, my interviewer seemed to have a lot of knowledge about the industry and technical interviewing in general. Also, the software they used for the call had everything we needed to do the interview without additional software installation.
At the end of the interview, I was asked to rate my experience with the interviewer and my session. Within an hour, I was given feedback about my performance. This composed of three sections: my star rating (out of 5), a short paragraph explaining the feedback rating, and another paragraph pointing me to future resources that could help me improve. I feel like the feedback was very constructive and I learned a lot about my interviewing capabilities and where I could improve.
My overall experience with this service was exceptional as I came out of it learning a lot about technical interviewing that I had previously not been able to fully understand. I recommend SkilledInc to any student looking into expanding on their interview skills, no matter how much interviewing practice they have had before. However, I will say that having a good grasp on basic computer science fundamentals coming in will be most productive. Also, I looked into the pricing of this service and I am grateful for having an amazing Career Center that provides this resource for students at UVA who many not have the money to afford this. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity while you’re still in school!
Tokens can be requested from the Center for Engineering Career Development by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org