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11+ Internship Interviews No Offers

StarstuckStarstuck Posts: 337Registered User Junior Member
I had over 11 internship interviews this semester but haven't had any offers or moved to final rounds. All the internships were for well known large companies and the chances were slim. Ex: Typically either 1:5, 1:20, or 1:80.

For one company I was supposed to be offered final rounds interview, but they retracted it last minute.

I have a 3.0 Economics major with lot of experience. I think the problem is that I am good at writing my qualities and sound good on paper, but when I interview people are bored by me are disappointed.

What should I do to make sure I get internship offers for large companies next semester or next year?
Post edited by Starstuck on

Replies to: 11+ Internship Interviews No Offers

  • chriswchrisw Posts: 1,384Registered User Senior Member
    A couple things stick out. First, fall recruiting for internships is smaller than spring recruiting, so don't be discouraged. Second, it is someone concerning that you have had eleven first round interviews and zero second rounds (1:5 and 1:20 are completely legit, but it would shock me if a company only called back one out of 80 applicants... their system of filtering out applicants before the first round would have to be really, really bad!). There are things you can do, however.

    The most likely reason you aren't getting calls back is that your interview skills aren't up to snuff. First, make sure that you go to career services at your school and ask to do a mock interview. You will get critiqued, and they will help you out a lot. Suggestions for once you are in the interview:
    - Always make eye contact with the people you meet, but don't stare at them. Keep it natural, the way you look at your friends when you talk to them.
    - Practice smiling before you get into the interview; you will naturally feel more relaxed. In addition, a subtle smile is a great way to show confidence.
    - Work on your handshake. A firm handshake may not impress people, but a weak handshake WILL disappoint them.
    - Eliminate "like," "um" and any other crutch words you use in your vocabulary.
    - After an interview, make sure you follow up within 24 hours.

    Also, when you don't get a job but made it to a final round, it makes sense to ask the company why they decided to go with somebody else.
  • StarstuckStarstuck Posts: 337Registered User Junior Member
    I completed a lot of mock interviews last year and some freshman year. Most employers rated my skills answering questions, body language, talk, dress typically 3-4 out of 5. The main recommendation was to be more confident, talk louder at career fairs, make eye contact better, and stop appearing anxious ( which due to being over scheduled with interviews or appointments). I always follow up bu employees don't have specific reasons why I didn't get an offer.

    What should I do? I feel like I'll never get a full time job.
  • chriswchrisw Posts: 1,384Registered User Senior Member
    Have you ever specifically asked why you didn't get an offer or move forward in the process? If not, start doing that.

    As for dealing with anxiety, you face a common problem. An effective way to handle it is to arrive at your interview 10-15 minutes early, and then start just writing down your feelings on a piece of paper in your interview folder. You may find that you are a little more confident in your interview as a result.

    Take a look at this, which I posted a few weeks ago: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/internships-careers-employment/1395316-oft-forgotten-art-follow-up.html

    That'll help you with your follow up letters, as they can be as important as the interviews themselves.

    When you are in interviews, do you ask questions? When I was interviewing, I had a standard set, of which the most notable was, "What do you like least about working here?" That question always took people by surprise, so it served to make the interview memorable.

    Do you know what to say when standard behavioral questions are asked? For example, have you ever had a manager who was very difficult to work for? What are your two biggest weaknesses (FYI, answers like "I work too hard" are absolutely TERRIBLE answers)? What are your three biggest strengths? Have you ever worked in a team? ... you shouldn't have memorized answers to these questions, but you absolutely should have talking points for any of the common questions.

    Also, many people don't realize this, but interviewers would rather you ask for a moment to think about their question instead of rattling off nonsense before you thought your answer through. A pregnant pause between an interviewer's question and your answer will show that you are confident in what you are saying AND that you have really considered the question before answering.
  • intparentintparent Posts: 13,458Registered User Senior Member
    I do a lot of interviewing because I am a contract worker, so change clients pretty often. One thing I think often helps is to be able to chat about something besides the interview/work itself. Small talk, in other words. This is easiest if you are interviewing in their office -- just recently in interviews I have asked about the artwork and talked about the dog wandering around the office (and a little about my dog). It can be about the weather if particularly foul or nice (suspect this one will work on the East Coast for the next week!). Sometimes you can do it at the start of the interview, or sometimes take a brief detour during the interview if they say something that you can comment on. It takes the "boring" feeling off... you don't want to wander all over heck, but it can help humanize you a little.

    I don't usually recommend putting hobbies on your resume, but if you REALLY come across as super boring and actually have something interesting to put that might get the interviewer to see you as more interesting, then consider putting it on there.

    I am sympathetic, as I have two kids -- one is a SUPER interviewer, and the other just isn't. She is introverted, can't make small talk to save her life, and just doesn't do well in interviews. Don't know if you are introverted, but if you are, we have been reading a book together called "Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults". It is more about social skills, but I honestly think those spill over into interviews as well. It has some good tips.

    Oh, and if you live in a cold climate... keep your right hand warm somehow (in your pocket or in a glove) before the interview so it is warm when you shake hands. :)
  • WH2013CAWH2013CA Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    This is probably reiterating what some other posters have said, but here's my two cents.
    First off, good job at applying to so many! That's the first step and many people can't even get there.

    Interviewing is an art form. The more you do it, the better you will get at it. If you go in nervous, it will show. So practice!!! This may sound stupid, but think about it - you can pretty much have a general idea of what they're going to ask you before you walk in the door. Here's a few general ones:

    -What would you consider your most significant experience relevant to this job?
    -What was your biggest obstacle?
    -What about this position is appealing to you?
    -Why are you the most qualified candidate?
    -Do you have any questions for us? (ALWAYS ANSWER THIS QUESTION - It's simple to use this time to ask either two things to get an idea about where they are with you or to get more information...1, are there any areas of concern they have regarding your interview that you could help to clarify? and 2, what is a typical day in the office like?)

    What I suggest is this: make a list of possible interview questions. Don't kill yourself-5 or 6 are fine. And practice answering them. In each answer, make sure you stay positive and mention a specific experience you have had (sell yourself).

    I used to do pageants and was trained in interviewing and the best tip I ever got was called "the 4 points of the crown". The general idea was this: go into each interview with an idea of 4 things you want the interviewer to know about you REGARDLESS OF WHAT QUESTIONS YOU ASK. You should be able to steer the interview to these four things no matter what they ask you. If for some reason you don't hit all four, you can always elaborate on what you missed in the usual "Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?" question.
    For me it would be the following things: 1) interned on Capitol Hill 2) studied conflict mediation in Italy 3) member of my university honors program and 4) collected 33,000 books to rebuild a school library in Uganda.
    So the idea goes something like this - I will show a few different questions where I answer the same thing essentially to each one:

    Interviewer: So why are you interested in this job doing _______?
    Me: Well, my freshman year in college I collected over 30,000 books for child soldiers in Uganda and that required an extraordinary amount of teamwork and collaboration. That experience led me to realize that I love working in a team environment. Your company seems to foster that type of workplace situation.

    Interviewer: What is your biggest weakness? (<--Hint: ALWAYS turn this answer into something positive)
    Me: Growing up, I was somewhat of a shy person. Luckily, my freshman year I underwent a project where I collected over 30,000 books for former child soldiers in Uganda. This experience was transformative and allowed me to break out of my shell and excel at being a team player.

    Interviewer: What makes you qualified for this position?
    Me: I am superb at collaborating with other individuals to get a large project done and managing a large group of volunteers. As a freshman I collected.....blah blah blah

    See how neat that is? Remember: YOU control the interview! All it takes is a little practice! Good luck :)
  • chriswchrisw Posts: 1,384Registered User Senior Member
    You give good tips, but this is flat out wrong:
    Hint: ALWAYS turn this answer into something positive

    It's pretty well documented that interviewers see through the tactic of masking a strength as a weakness or talking about a weakness that you have already overcome. This question is valuable because it tells the interviewer just how self-aware you are.

    For example, when I was asked the weakness question senior year of college, my answer was that I cannot force myself to work hard if I am not passionate about the assignment I am given; this is a clear weakness because, in the workplace, you are occasionally given assignments you won't care about. I was certain to follow that statement up by explaining how I planned to eliminate that weakness. Then, last year, I was asked the weakness question again in a different interview, and my answer had changed to, When I believe I am right, I can be quite stubborn, sometimes to the detriment of the team.

    Both answers were received well by recruiters because they showed an uncommon self-awareness and honesty. What applicants don't realize is that weaknesses are not bad things. If you can recognize a legitimate weakness, you can fix it; if you do not recognize your weaknesses (saying "I work too hard" is NOT a weakness, and everyone knows it, no matter how you try to frame it), you will never fix them.
  • our2girlsour2girls Posts: 505Registered User Member
    starstruck - good luck on finding the right internship for yourself!

    Btw, I know there are great people on CC, and for whatever reason it struck me today how happy today to see great advice for startstruck from a number of posters. Have a good day!
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