Interview night

A couple of years ago we had planned to carry out an Industrial Operations Combine for all students in ESTEC programs. We intended to pattern the Combine after the NFL combine, where regional industrial employers could come and watch students perform a variety of simple tasks, and conduct interviews.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced us to re-think our approach. Instead, for the past two years, we have held an “interview night” for industrial cybersecurity students.

The purposes of this event are to:

1. Allow program stakeholders to interact with the potential employees produced by the program.

2. Give every student a short and realistic interaction with a potential employer (regardless of whether the interviewer is actually hiring at the moment).

Interview Night format:
* Interviews conducted via Zoom.
* Each interview lasts ~30 minutes.
* Each interviewer conducts two interviews.
* Interviewer and student are paired in a Zoom breakout room.

Interviewers are free to craft their own interview questions, but they could include:
* What interests you most about a career in industrial cybersecurity?
* What course or project was engaging to you?
* We often face INSERT RELEVANT CHALLENGE, how would you suggest we address that?

We have 17 students finishing up the industrial cybersecurity portion of the program — be it AAS, or Intermediate Technical Certificate. About 7 of those will continue on for a Bachelor degree, and enter the workforce in January or May 2023, which leaves 10 that would like to enter the workforce in May. We have four or five students who will graduate with their BAS this May (2022).

Of these 17, twelve were able to attend Interview Night. We had 14 industry representatives show up — meaning that every student got two half-hour interviews! Industry reps hailed from INL, West Yost, Accenture, Nucor, 1898, TSA, Mandiant, Siemens, Duke Energy, and QED. I am so thankful for their fantastic support.

I would say that this year’s interview night was one of my favorite parts of my five-year adventure in education — the opportunity to show off the product– the students — to the consumer — industry representatives!

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