How did you get your first internship
Application: job interview
The most important thing is that you are yourself. Be honest and try not to be someone you are not. One of our professors once replied to an applicant's question whether he had a tip for the selection interview with “Come in person!”. So don't memorize any answers from application books for the interview; HR managers know these standard answers better than you and are more likely to be bored. You don't make any difference to the other applicants, who may be able to memorize even better. Be yourself!
The interview usually starts with a round of introductions after you've been asked if you'd like something to drink. First of all, those present at the company introduce themselves and tell a little about their position and tasks in the company. Then it's your turn. Now you have to tell something about yourself and your career. You will then be asked a few questions with which the company would like to find out whether you are the right candidate for the internship.
Tie can be overkill at an internship interview. You should make the type of clothing you wear dependent on the company; if you are applying for an internship at the bank, you should wear a suit and tie or a trouser suit. However, this is not necessary with a design agency.
Prepare for the company.
Before you go to the interview for your internship, you should have thoroughly examined the company. Usually you will be asked what you know about the company and the department in which the internship will take place.
Prepare for any questions you may have about yourself and your résumé.
If you have made a good first impression with your application documents for the internship, the HR managers and your future boss would like to get to know you better through the interview. For this reason, questions are asked about you as a person but also about your previous career. Be honest and try not to overly gloss over any weaknesses on your resume. Usually an unusual career is more interesting than a career from a picture book, because smoothly ironed résumés are told often enough.
What are your strengths? And what are your weaknesses?
This question comes up quite often. Just like in the cover letter, you shouldn't have standardized answers like “My strengths include perseverance, creativity and assertiveness. I would count my great impatience among my weaknesses. Probably every second person gives these answers and has been heard countless times by HR staff. Think about what really sets you apart, ask friends and family. And if you have a thing for chocolate, say it! A little humor in the interview (placed very discreetly) is good and loosens up the atmosphere.
Be there earlier than on time.
If you are late for your interview, your chances of getting the internship will diminish significantly. A bad first impression is fatal. It is better to be 20 minutes early and try to talk to people who can tell you something about the company. Also keep in mind that - especially with large companies - you have to find your way around a large company site, you may have to fill out a visitor's pass at the gate and then find the office in the right building. All of this takes a lot of time.
Think up exciting questions. Look interested.
Those present will best remember what was last heard! You should therefore end the interview well: At the end of the interview at the latest, you will be asked whether you have any questions - at this point you should underline your interest in the internship and the company with interesting questions. But even during the interview, you should use intermediate questions to signal that you are interested in what your counterpart is saying.
- Is it possible to work on my own project for a longer period of time during the internship that I will present to the department at the end?
- Could you send me documents to prepare for the internship?
- Which topics should I master or look at again?
- Is there an induction phase, e.g. through my predecessor?
- Is there a chance of being employed as a working student or graduate after the internship? (The latter question is particularly useful because companies very often want to keep interns with the company over the long term.)
- What exactly will my duties be?
- What would a typical working day look like?
- Who will I work with?
Only ask for payment of the internship and working hours at the end!
Questions to prepare for.
Many questions from HR keep coming up. Some of these questions that we encountered again and again in interviews for our internship and that you should be prepared for were:
- Describe your career / tell something about yourself.
- What do you know about our company or our department?
- Why did you apply to us / specifically for this internship?
- What do you value in your job / life?
- What makes you different from other applicants?
- What is your own understanding of the internship you are applying for?
- How successful have you been so far by your own standards?
- Which school subjects / study subjects did you particularly enjoy and which did not?
- How was or is the cooperation with professors and students?
- Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?
- What tasks did you have in the internship you have already completed?
- How do you rate your knowledge of xyz?
- Describe a situation in which your work or idea was criticized.
- Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10.
- Imagine getting the job and having to find out who is responsible for customs papers in our company. How would you go about it?
- Imagine, as an intern, having to tell an employee in another department that you are not satisfied with the results of your work and that you would like a revision. How would you do that?
- Imagine asking someone in your department to send you certain documents. Even after a week you still have no answer. How do you proceed?
- What are your plans after graduation?
- What exactly do you expect from this internship?
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