Internship/ Placement Interview
As those applying for internships/ placements will start gearing towards the interview stage if your application was successful I wanted to compile this blog to talk about my experience/ give tips on how to handle interviews.
There are a few different types of interviews; video interview, telephone interview, skype interview, assessment centre and then final interview. Depending on the company you may have to do every type of interview until an offer is given, for others you may only need a telephone interview and then a typically a final interview.
With every type of interview preparation is key. The more you prepare by researching the company and coming up with some model answers for common interview questions, hopefully, the less you’ll become stuck in the interview. Also, the more you prepare the more confident you’ll be, which will show through at interview. Side not however, googling a certain company interview questions isn’t always the best idea as you could waste a lot of time preparing answers for questions that never come up. Stick to the common ones, ambitions for the role/ company, a bit about yourself, and what the company does.
I’ve never personally had to do a video interview but a friend of mine recently had to complete one for a graduate scheme for Virgin. This type of interview involves; pre-recorded questions [listen carefully to the question as they will not repeat it) and 30 seconds to 1 minute to prepare your answer according to the difficulty of the question (need to have rough paper by your side, have some answers to classic questions pre-written but also be able to adapt yourself to new questions as you never know which ones will come up) 90 seconds to answer the question.
Telephone/ Skype interview
Telephone interviews aren’t too bad as the more you prepare on paper you can use that resource while in the interview. Type of questions will fall more towards ambitions/ knowledge of company and competency based questions as technical interviews (for science roles this involves usually answering science exam style questions) typically happen in person or over skype. A good tip I read is to smile, even though everyone is nervous during an interview, smiling subconsciously uplifts your mood. Also, be prepared for the two types of interviewers, the ones who seem engaged and responsive and ones you will saying nothing but the questions and write down your responses. Skype calls are very similar but just involve less reading from paper.
Assessment Centre/ Final Interview
Depending on the company you the final interview may be held on the same day as the assessment centre, for others you may have to come back. If you have made it this far congratulations! This is the final hurdle you must take to get that grad scheme/ placement/ interview. Unfortunately, this is usually the hardest part of the interview process.
Assessment Centres come in all shapes and sizes but usually they start with an interview from a member of the team you’ll be joining. You may get a lot of repeat questions given from previous interviews or they may ask different competency based questions. Then in groups of interviewees you are usually given a task to complete/ have a good discussion. For these you want to be engaged and active in the discussion/ task but don’t dominate the situation. A key element of this task is how you engage and work with others/ if you can lead which involves getting every member of the group involved. To end the day, you’ll typically have a final interview with someone higher up in the team where you may be asked either competency or technical based questions.
Good luck those interviewing over the next couple of weeks/ months and I hope this has given you a general feel for how the interview process works.