Interview Prep

I didn’t want to hijack the other topic about the Design Award feedback, but interviewing, and it’s importance came up several times. Any good tips for helping teams prep for interviews. I have a few things I do (or aspire to, anyway)…

  • Always insist on the correct terms being used. Even while the students are talking to each other, looking for parts, etc, by always referring to parts or mechanisms or features by the proper name it makes it more likely they will then use it. It’s learning new vocabulary
  • Explain WHY things are called what they are.
  • Do lots of practice interviews; videotape them; review together; get someone else to do some interviews with them
  • review the rubric

I have found if you had a previous design that was a complete failure (don’t call it a failure, just say a design that didn’t work), explain what the design was, why you had it, why it didn’t work out, and explain how you used that experience to improve and make your current design.

Also, don’t follow a script, it will just put more stress on yourself. Just know how you achieved your design, why it is like that, and what steps it took to get there


All team members should participate. It does not look good to a judge when one person monopolizes the conversation. It also looks like that person did everything.

Each member should be able to explain their role and contribution. Members should be able to understand - at a high level - the process the team went through.

Coaches and parents should step away when the team is being interviewed.

Don’t use fancy words or jargon just because you think the judge will be impressed. Speak in plain language at the level you understand.

Be courteous. Look the judges in the eye. Speak loud enough to be heard. Respect the judges’ time. Be succinct (not rushed - but know what point you want to make and get to it relatively quickly).

Judges look for a cohesive team that looks like they work well together and enjoy what they’re doing. So don’t roll your eyes when a team member speaks, speak over a team member or rudely correct a team member. If you notice that one team member hasn’t spoken - draw that person in - you’re a team, after all, so make sure to look like one.

Scripts should be avoided - but having an idea what each team member will cover helps to make sure all you important points are covered and use your time efficiently.

Put your phone down and engage in the conversation.


My team won a judges award because we showed them our passion and our aspirations and what we would do to improve the design