Are you going to intern somewhere this summer? Or are you planning to do that after your graduation? Never done it in your life? Are you willing to improve your “internship hunting capabilities”?
If so, you are just looking at the right column!
For two months I will be telling you everything about the internship, both in terms of technicalities, like the CV and the cover letter, and of attitudes, like energy and autonomy.
In a midsummer’s time: a midsummer’s internship guide.
Today’s focus is one of the hottest topics: the Interview.
I for Interview
You’ve just agreed on a time for a interview. After a few seconds of delight, the long-standing issue comes to your mind: “How should I behave?” I don’t want to discourage you, but the first thing to clarify is: being selected for an interview doesn’t imply being hired. In Hemingway’s words, you can “win the battle” (the screening of the CVs), but “loose the war” (the hiring process), due to the interview.
So here are some tips to increase your “hiring probability”:
- a good first impression: we are human, so the first things we notice about a person make an enduring impression on us. Then, a bad impression may be changed only after many positive signals. So, arrive on time and properly dressed (see “D for Dress Code” on the previous issue);
- open your ears and later, your mouth: listen carefully what the recruiters say in order to understand the questions and adapt to his or her style (informal/formal/friendly/icy);
- be practical: in order to support what you say about you, add anecdotes: for example, you understand customers’ needs, as you learnt while working as a shop assistant;
- be positive: not only optimist, but also use positive expressions, focusing on what you can do, showing your willingness to work on your weaknesses with a learning-driven attitude;
- be committed to the company: explain why are you interested in them; absolutely avoid saying that you are going to work elsewhere if the interview will be bad: not only because it is obvious wrong to say it, but especially because it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, since you aren’t showing a real interest for the firm;
- be cooperative with the others: group interviews are designed to assess if you are a good team-worker. As a result, it is worth reaching the goal indicated to you by the recruiter at the beginning of the test by finding a compromise with other candidates;
- be the “marketer of yours”: use the interviewer’s questions as a start to describe your skills, motivation and work experience, including the one which are most consistent with the position;
- don’t get down if you are not selected: keep on searching and you’ll find other opportunities; anyway, you’ll be more experienced in interviews next time. And by the way, none feedback is better than a bad one.
The interview can have many structures:
- one-shot: when your boss coincides with the person who is selecting you because HR Department is missing or the position you’re applying for belongs to that department; not so common;
- two-steps: first step with HR Department and second with your future boss; it’s the most common;
- many-steps: it may be made of: an attitudinal test/assessment center test, interview with the HR department; interview with another HR specialist; interview with your boss. Very unusual for an internship.
- one-to-one/in pairs/group interview.
J for Jack-in-the-box
During the internship, you’ve realized that what you’re doing is not what you’d like to do.
In other words: a Jack-in-the-box has ruined your plans. Don’t get miserable! Unexpected things are part of life, also of the working one. The only way to face them is accepting surprises, including bad ones.
In the dreadful internship case, you have discovered something new about yourself: at least, you won’t repeat the same error/internship afterwards.
K for Know Your Company Culture
You have just been hired for an internship. After a while, you notice some habits of the employees: the break at mid-morning, at mid-afternoon, the behavior towards the boss…
They’re part of the company culture. You must know it to behave suitably.
How? Paying attention to everything and acting accordingly. I’ll come back to this issue in “N for Naturalize to the company”.
By Valentina Magri, MA student in Management at Bocconi University