Thursday, October 27, 2011

Preparing for an Internship Interview

Ever since I had started my second year during my undergraduate studies, the importance of an internship was grilled in our minds. We were given seminars and workshops on how the internship experience would give us real-world exposure to work place and put theory into action. How the work ethic developed during the internship would improve our personalities and more importantly how this whole experience will translate into better opportunities in the future. 

So, many of my class fellows and I actively started exploring the opportunities to work in a well-reputed firm to gain a valuable experience. As I was studying for electrical engineering degree, I was looking to work in the power industry. I think it was October of that year when I was informed that a hiring manager from a big power company would be on campus and our career services office had put my name on the list of candidates to be interviewed that day.
I think the interviews were supposed to go on for two days. I was thrilled as well as pretty nervous as it was my first one-to-one interview. I was told to get on the net and try to learn about this company and practice the interview with a friend or two and how to reply to a difficult question.
Ever heard of saying, “dress to impress”? This adage is true for a job interview. Before somebody is asked any question and even before a handshake, one can be judged with how he represents himself with dressing. Therefore, dress appropriately according to the occasion and weather.
I think one of the difficult questions to answer is when somebody asks you, “Do you have any weaknesses?” We all know that nobody is perfect. This clearly means there must be some weaknesses present in an individual. If someone says “No, I don’t have any weakness”, that is a complete lie and the hiring manager would interpret this answer that the candidate is a liar. Therefore, the candidate must be prepared to answer this question and try to put a positive spin when answering this question. Like, one can say I can’t relax until I get all the questions answered in my project. This shows the person is hard working and does not quit until all the work is done in a proper manner.
One should try to come up with a logical answer with a positive spin to it. I think another difficult question to answer is why do you want to work in this company, is it for money? I think people want to work because they want comfortable living with good finances. So the obvious answer is, yes, I want to work because I need money. But that is not the correct answer. The way to handle this question is to combine your area of interest and industry together to show your interest in working for a particular firm. I remember when the hiring manager put that question to me; I replied, “No, I want to work because I want to see how the theory in our classrooms works in the real world”. I am an electrical engineer and I am interested in seeing how the electricity business works in practical. Money is the by-product of job. But the first step is to get a job.
During an interview, a good hiring manager might give you an opportunity to ask questions from him/her as well. So be prepared to ask questions from the hiring manager. I think many candidates would love to know how much money they will be paid for this job. But this question is a ‘No No’ if you want to get yourself hired. Get yourself educated about the industry in general and company in particular for the job interview. Ask about the duties you would be performing at the company, who you might be working with, maybe work place, hours and stuff like that. This would show your interest and the inquiring mind. 
 Normally, an interview lasts half an hour or so. Before leaving the room, make sure to get a business card and also inquire about when to expect to hear from the company. 

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