I recently participated in the SAP and Per Scholas Mock Interview Workshop. Per Scholas is a national non-profit that offers free high-quality IT education, training and job placement services for individuals in low-income communities. The average age of the Per Scholas students hovered around 30-32. The ten candidates were ‘mock’ interviewed for Help Desk Support technicians positions.
I jumped into this project last minute without thinking about the nature of this volunteer act. It turned out to be a truly enriching human experience. As a young professional it was extremely interesting to be, for the first time, an interviewer as opposed to an interviewee. This role reversal gave me insight into the psychology that surrounds the professional interviewing process. Through this, I extended my understanding of the workplace environment and felt the importance of belonging to a large organization.
The candidates were endearingly nervous and all determined to make the best possible impression. The participant (M) I was assigned to interview spent the last ten years of his life working as a sub in Government funded schools for special need children. M had the kind of wisdom and positive outlook on life that can only be gained through true hardship. He shared his desire for stability and need of a permanent position. This all made me realize how lucky I am to have a job. When I asked about the reasons for his conversion into the IT business he answered: “My grandfather always told me, get a job fixing something people will always need.” It is true that today computers and software are essential to the functioning of the world. This advice should be of comfort to every SAP employee.
In summary, this was a very positive experience where I can safely say that I learned as much as the Per Scholas students did. This was a mock interview but if I had the power to do so I would have hired every member of the group.