Prague Updates: Internship Interviews

So class has started today. It was a nice weekend but, of course, they never last as long as you want them to and before I knew it I was back in class getting lectured at again. I finished before 1 though so I was able to come back and just relax, get some food and what not. I video chatted with my mom again today too. One thing that I’ve been noticing is that, even though the homesickness was relatively strong earlier this semester (especially considering I’m the type of kid that falls off the map when they leave the house for any extended period of time), it’s starting to wane and become more manageable. I still have the urge to call home every week or every other week just to share any updates about what’s going on in my life or ask them about what’s going on at home, but that longing to actually be back isn’t as strong now. I had a few moments when I wished I could be back at home on my couch for just a moment – especially when my mom started talking about the new recipes she was trying out – but for the most part I was totally fine. In a few months I’ll be leaving and by that time I’ll probably be homesick for Prague. It’s hard to imagine that just yet – everything still feels incredibly new for how long I’ve been here already – but that’s what I’ve been told. Apparently it’s called reverse culture shock. But I’m sure I’ll be able to deal with that when it comes.

The other thing that I did today was a web interview for one of the internships I applied for. I know I already mentioned it before, but I applied to internships over Winter Break and finally heard back from one of my top choices. I was so excited and nervous when I read the email congratulating me on an interview opportunity – they wanted to have it by web cam, giving me a series of pre-recorded questions that I was supposed to answer, and gave me a week to do it and submit it. I initially intended to do it on Saturday but I was having problems with my microphone – my voice was coming out so low and distorted that it almost sounded Satanic – and had to postpone the interview so I could troubleshoot the issue. Thankfully I fixed the problem and was able to do the interview today. I was super nervous the whole time but the website that I recorded my answers on was set up so that I got at least one chance to review or retry my answer to every question. Overall I think I did pretty well – I started getting into the flow of things as the interview progressed and by the third or so question I was answering with more ease and fluidity. So hopefully I’ll hear back from them. The secondary interview is supposed to be in a couple of weeks if the hiring manager is interested in my interview, so I guess we’ll see. But the experience that I went through today made me want to relay some information and advice regarding internship web interviews that I appreciated knowing before starting.

So here are a list of helpful points to take into consideration before a web cam interview:

  • Make sure you’re dressed for the job you want. If this is a serious company that’s looking over your resume and interested in you then you need to look sharp. A blazer, blouse, and a few moderate pieces of jewelry will do a girl wonders. But don’t worry about the bottom half – they won’t see that anyway.
    • on that note, make sure you actually have a blazer. I didn’t take that into consideration when I was packing but I was lucky enough to have a roommate who was more than willing to lend me hers.
  • Keep the background clear and clean. That means no one running around in the background and making sure that you’ve moved any drying racks so your interviewer doesn’t get an unsolicited view of your underwear.
  • Make sure there’s good lighting and no glare on your screen.
  • Prepare for the interview! Write down some questions you think they might ask and outline your answers, then make sure you practice those answers to make sure they are concise and actually answer the question. Some possible questions are:
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • What do you know about what this company does?
    • Why do you want to work at this company?
    • What’s your greatest strength/weakness? [PLEASE don’t say the perfectionist/workaholic thing. Unless it’s abundantly clear that you’re telling the truth, people will see right through you. Just choose a weakness that’s truthful but not too bad and show how you’ve worked to strengthen yourself in that area]
    • What qualifies you for the job?
    • Can you review your resume and point out (and elaborate on) those parts that are relevant to the job you’re applying for?
    • Do you have any questions for me? [it’s better for everyone if you actually do have a few questions. It shows your interest]
    • [These are just a few examples. Like I said before, there’s a packet in the Business School with more interview questions if you want more practice]
  • If your questions are pre-recorded like mine were and they give you an option to redo your answers, try to keep it at 1 or 2 retries. Any more and they’ll wonder what your problem is.
  • LOOK INTO THE WEB CAM, NOT THE SCREEN. It’s a small thing but it can make a vast difference in the appearance of your interview. And don’t forget to smile!
  • Send a follow up email the same day thanking your interviewer for the interview and asking any follow up questions you may have.

These are just a few of the tips that I found extremely helpful. If you want more advice, Pinterest is actually a wonderful resource. I have a board there dedicated specifically to career pins and a lot of those are practice interview questions or tips on how to excel as a newbie in the office. I’d definitely recommend that anyone looking for more information try the site even if you’ve never used Pinterest before.

So I hope this post helps anyone else who’s trying to nail down an internship for over the summer. I know it can be particularly stressful for juniors since it’s their last real summer before they’re out in the “real world.”

Best of luck and happy job hunting!