Written by Jennifer Brandom, Career Center Practicum Student
Have a job interview coming up but don’t have time to visit the Career Center? Preparing for graduate school interviews but are nervous to try mock interviewing? The Career Center at Missouri State offers a free service to students called InterviewStream, which allows students to interview online from the comforts of home. As a graduate student completing a practicum in the Career Center, I was asked to review this software from a student’s perspective. First and foremost, let me say that I have interview anxiety, so it was exciting to learn that I could practice my skills in a low-stress environment.
Setting up an InterviewStream account
Setting up an account with InterviewStream was straightforward and easy to accomplish; this account is tied to Missouri State’s Career Center, so any interviews that get submitted may be reviewed by an MSU career resources specialist. After I successfully registered, my next step was to complete an interview, which could be done through a computer or a mobile device. I chose to conduct my interview via a computer, so my experience is based on that.
Selecting interview questions
Students can choose to complete either a pre-made interview or a custom interview. Since I had been given advice that it’s better to do mock interviews with a specific job (or academic program) in mind, I chose to create an interview that would align with those I would realistically encounter in my future job search. The number of questions that are available in the create your own interview section is somewhat overwhelming, but the system utilizes a search bar to streamline the process of finding specific industries or questions. General interview questions are also available in this section for someone who might not have a specific industry in mind yet.
I was able to select up to ten questions for my interview, but I did five as I felt this was sufficient to test the program. After I created my custom interview, the program took me to the instructions overview for how to complete the interview. This platform uses pre-recorded video questions, so instead of talking to an actual person during the interview, you respond to a computer interviewer.
I felt like this helped alleviate some of the anxiety of having to complete an in-person mock interview; however, it is important to note that most interviews are conducted face-to-face, and live practice is still extremely beneficial. Over the years, the number of companies conducting remote interviews has steadily increased, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies canceled in-person interviews and set up virtual interviews instead. Online job interviews may become commonplace even when the pandemic abates.
Once the system asked me a question, a timer automatically started that gave me a time limit in which to record a response. I felt the time was sufficient in most cases, and I never ran out of time during the interview. After recording my answer for each question, it always gave me the option to re-record, which I did use multiple times. At the end of the interview, I had the option to submit my interview for review, to which I said yes. This sent it to the Career Center.
Viewing your interview
All interviews you complete are saved into your account, so you can review them as often as you would like. This particular program lets you count how many times you use specific filler words such as like or um, as well as provides a space for you to leave feedback on your interview. By watching your interview, you can see how well you did with body language, posture, tone, speed, and breadth of answers.
Overall, I would recommend the software to all students who want to practice their interview skills in a low-stress environment; however, I still think that the best preparation, in the end, is mock interviewing live, whether that is within the career center office or via video conferencing software. Since the goal after graduation is to get “the job,” the interview is extremely important, so why not take advantage of free resources offered by the university?
To schedule a remote mock interview with a Career Center staff member, call the Career Center at (417)836-5636 or log into your Handshake account and make an appointment from there.