ONLINE INTERVIEW ADVICE FROM A FRESH RECRUITER FOR INTERNSHIP CANDIDATES
Written by Halil Çiftçi
The day you’d been waiting for, has finally arrived. The interview day. I’m assuming you’ve already looked up successful interview techniques and tips on the internet. However, you are perplexed by too many questions, such as how do you prepare for an interview? What should you wear? Have you done enough research on the company and the position? Are you ready to explain your 5-years or even 10-years plans in an interview for 3-months internship position? Do you know that managing your stress during an interview can give you a significant advantage (Finnerty et al., 2016)? Or do you know that recruiters may accept you based on your demeanor (Nguyen et al., 2014)?
As a new recruiter I have conducted over 100 interviews, and the candidates’ mistakes I witnessed have shaped my decision to write this article. The interviews can be a frustrating experience for everyone especially those with no prior work experience. You may have never participated in an English interview before, but no need to worry. In this article, I will outline the most common mistakes made by internship candidates during the interviews, with the help of abundant experience I gain from my interviews. I will also assist you with your traineeship application to Extramus.
Before the Interview
Successful interview techniques may be the most searched topic by candidates on the internet. There are, however, some things you can do prior to the interview. Here are a few examples:
1. Cancelation at the last time
You must avoid canceling your interview if you do not have a compelling reason to do so. You’re not the only one who prepares for an interview. Human resource departments begin working on your application as soon as you send your documents to companies. Furthermore, not every company will allow you to reschedule. If you must cancel your interview, at the very least show your respect for them by explaining your reasons in detail.
2. Attending the interview without any preliminary
Visit the company’s website and learn everything you can about the position you applied for. Read the job description carefully and become familiar with your responsibilities, as you will need them in your interview. I always ask candidates what they have learned about our company and the position they applied for, and if they haven’t done these things, I get the impression that they aren’t too excited about the internship.
3. Microphone problems
Check your equipment in advance to avoid problems during the interview. You don’t want waste time fixing your microphone because recruiters only have a limited amount of time for each interview, so every minute counts. Set up a random meeting on the same platform you’ll be using for the interview to test your equipment.
4. Bad Lighting
The one important feature that most candidates overlook is proper lighting. Your interviewer wants to see your face, brighten your room before the interview and don’t sit too far away from your computer’s camera.
5. Do not forget to send the necessary documents
I mentioned earlier that HR departments prepare for candidate applications prior to interviews. To begin this process, you must send the requested documents. For internship and internship positions, institutions and companies often ask their students to send a CV and motivation letter; However, they may ask you to submit a reference letter and your previous projects. Although some organizations do not require all of these documents, you can send them a motivation letter that demonstrates your sincerity and seriousness about the position you applied for, which will also help your interviewer get to know you better and give you more time to speak in your interview.
During The Interview
1. First impressions are important
It may be difficult to believe, but your interviewer’s first impressions of you will have a significant impact on his or her decision (Finnerty et al., 2016). However, we interact with hundreds of people every day, and our thoughts are often shaped by our first impressions. So why should your interviewer be any different? Make your preparations ahead of time and try to arrive at the interview a few minutes early. So you can demonstrate that you are a punctual and responsible individual.
2. Short utterances during the introduction
I assure you that no matter what type of internship interview you attend, they will ask you to give an introduction about yourself. I’ve met many students who give a sloppy introduction about themselves, then try to get past this stage by talking about their job experience, skills, and so on. Without a doubt, your skills and experience will impress your interviewer. However, as with first impressions, without an expressive introduction you will lose that attention that you wanted. The organizations and companies want to learn about your personality as much they want to learn about your skills. Let’s be honest, who wants to hire an irresponsible, unpunctual or troublemaking intern? Prepare for such standard interview questions ahead of time so that you are not hesitant to respond them.
3. Mistakes might be done as a result of stress
Now let’s talk about your evil enemy, stress. American Psychological Association defines stress as “the physiological or psychological response to internal or external stressors.” Contrary to popular belief stress is not always a bad thing. It’s one of the reasons humanity has lasted so long. Your interviewer may be your external stressor (I hope not), or an unexpected question can cause you to lose control of your stress. As an interviewee, you may think that you hide your stress well; However, from an interviewer’s eyes, signs of stress are easy to spot. The one sign I noticed in all stresfull candidates was repetition. Although it is important to follow your interviewer’s questions, it is also important to follow your anwers in order to avoid repetition. Being self-aware during the interview not only helps you manage your stress effectively, but you may also notice other common stress signs in your speech that are recruiters interpret as a failure, such as tongue-slip and stuttering (Finnerty et al., 2016).
4. Take longer turns and give more details about your skills and experience
You have finally passed the introduction part and impressed your interviewer with your fancy introduction. Great! But it’s not over yet. Now it’s time to answer the questions related the position you’ve applied for. You may not be ready for all the questions, but you can still make some preparations. According to a study candidates who speak for a longer period are more likely to be hired (Nguyen et al., 2014). However, try to provide detailed and satisfying responses, as simply speaking longer will not improve your chances.
5. What is your motivation?
What motivates you? Have you ever answered this question? I asked it in 99 percent of the interviews I conducted, and they will most likely ask you as well. If you are unsure about your motivation, pose this question to yourself and try to answer it. These open-ended questions used by recruiters to learn more about candidates’ personalities. Furthermore, according to one study, your personality traits can play a significant role in your interview (Finnerty et al., 2016). If you didn’t get off to a good start on the interview day, try not to show your emotions to your interviewer, as he may mistake you for a grumpy person.
6. Your goals
Do not be surprised if your interviewer asks you about your five years goals in a three-month internship interview. If a company is looking for prospective employees that internship could be a great opportunity to find your future job ahead of time. Instead jumping right into your 5 year plans, start with your short term plans, such as what you intend to do during your internship, and try to relate these to your plans in the near future. By doing so, you can demonstrate to your interviewer that you are serious about the position and do not want the opportunity to simply fill a gap on your CV.
7. Why should we accept you?
This question may be asked of you if your interviewer has doubts about you or if your answers are shaky, but don’t worry! This question may also serve as your second opportunity. Give brief overview of your soft and technical skills. With your key accomplishments, try to capture and demonstrate how serious you are about the position you applied for.
8. Avoid slang words; use business vocabulary instead
If you want to appear professional, perhaps respond all questions with “yep” is not the best way to go. It undermines your credibility and may give the wrong impression to your interviewer. Recruiters enjoy hearing candidates use professional terms. So, go to a few job search websites, such as Linkedln, Glassdoor or Indeed, and read the job descriptions, paying close attention to the professional terms relevant to your position. If you use these terms correctly during your interview, you can will almost certainly receive positive feedback.