Archive for January, 2011
As summer internship season is right around the corner, I wanted to give some pointers on how to better prepare for an interview. Below are some key tips that I would suggest:
- Make sure you don’t ask a question just to be asking one. Make sure it is something you really want to know more about.
- Ask questions that demonstrate your value, intelligence and knowledge of the potential employer.
- Ask for a tour of the office.
- Ask questions that indicate you have researched that company
- Do NOT ask about salary, benefits or perks until after the original interview
- Exchange business cards before you leave.
With that been said, have you ever wondered what kind of questions are the right kind of questions? I have, which is why I’ve complied a list of questions that have personally worked in my favor.
1. Ask about the details of the job, what will I be doing on a day-to-day basis?
2. Ask what the interviewer likes best about working at the company.
3. Why did the previous person leave this position? (the one you are interviewing for; usually with internships, it’s just a semester position so there isn’t usually a reason besides that)
4. What expectations will there be within the first few months?
5. What can I do for you? What do you think I bring to the table?
6. Where do you see this company going in the next five years?
7. What is the best and worst aspects to your job?
8. What industry books would you suggest reading?
9. What training will be provided to help me better excel at this position?
10. What did the previous employee do that you’d like to see improved?
11. Are there opportunities to work on projects not listed in the original job description?
12. What is the most urgent challenge that you want me to tackle when I start?
13. Are there opportunities to move up after this position?
14. Who would you say are your biggest competitors?
15. Realistically, when will I hear back?
Not only will asking questions help get you involved in a more elaborate conversation, but it will also show the employer that you are interested in the company and not just yourself. Companies like to see that you have researched them and that you know a little about what you’re getting into, before you actually do. I like to think that being over prepared is much better than not being prepared at all.
As January 14, 2011 approached, I realized the next internship position I will be holding will have a significantly different atmosphere and corporate culture. On my last day as an intern at my previous internship, my boss asked me where my next internship will be and when I told him, his immediate response was “That’s going to be a totally different environment”. At my previous internship, the environment was very laid back and relaxed. We were allowed to listen to music whenever we wanted, and I was even allowed two hour lunch breaks on some Fridays! As for attire, there were some very simple rules. For men, no cut sleeves, no flip-flops, and no shorts, other than that, all else goes! It was nice being able to go to work in the same clothes I wore at school. That being said, when it was time to work, I still got my work done, and put my best effort forth. Although I have not started my next internship yet, I am familiar with the culture and the kind of demeanor I will need to have when I begin. There is definitely a more “buttoned-up” feeling in the office, and dress code is business formal. Even though atmosphere is different, I am still excited to begin my new internship! Though the thought of entering a more “buttoned up” internship may seem a little daunting, especially after getting used to such a lax workplace, I have some tips for you interns looking to transition.
First of all, you can tell a lot about your next intern position and the corporate culture based on the interviewer. So pay attention to the interviewer’s word choice, posture, and demeanor, and replicate it. Furthermore, after getting the position, be observant. Watch how the others in the office interact, and act in the same manner, try to get along with your peers. Also, be patient. Anytime you enter a new situation, you’re going to be a little unsettled. Give yourself time, and you will notice as you become more comfortable with the corporate culture, you will begin to enjoy your internship even more! And finally, maybe the most obvious point, don’t be cocky, or overly aggressive, especially when you first get the position. If you are granted certain privileges, don’t abuse those privileges. If you are given a one hour lunch break, be back in 45 minutes. This way, you will gain the trust and respect of your boss, and you will leave a good impression on him or her, and score yourself some hiring points!
Good luck to all you interns out there!
Fox Business recently discussed the importance of internships during college and calls on CEO of Intern Queen, Lauren Berger to comment. To see her advice and read more on the article click here!
Lauren Berger website, Intern Queen is mentioned as #1 on the top five online communities for starting your career! Want to read more? Check out the article click here
It Came Down to the Thank You Note
It was only my first interview with the company but I knew that internship was mine. I could tell by the look my future boss gave me as I shook his hand after a flawless interview. I nailed it.
But wait, I wasn’t done yet! Don’t forget that thank you note. The thank you note can make or break the deal. Without it, an employer may think you don’t pay attention to details, you don’t have any manners, or maybe you don’t even want the job.
I learned this lesson the hard way. After a perfect interview, I went home, walked my dogs, cooked dinner and got a good night’s sleep. The next day I awoke refreshed and ready to check my messages for an offer. I eagerly checked my email…nothing. I checked my voicemail…nothing. This went on for five days. By day six, I stubbornly asked my roommate what she thought was taking so long. She didn’t even have to answer before it hit me! I forgot to send a thank you note! The interview was like a delicious cake and the thank you note was my icing. How could I forget the icing? After that day, I vowed to make thank you notes a regular part of my life. I mail thank you card to employers and friends. I hand thank you notes to professors and family.
And there’s more. Say the company really likes you and keeps asking you back. Do you need to write an interview thank you note after multiple interviews in the same company? The answer is YES. What if it was a phone interview? Yes. What if there was a panel of people– write each person? Yes. Gosh that’s a lot of creative thanking. All I can say is to have fun with it. Thank you notes are no longer optional and can be the reason you do or do not get the position you’re aiming for.