College Students Share 10 Tips That Helped Them ~Ace~ an Internship Interview

"Do not be afraid to take your time to think."
by Jessica Tambunting   |  Jan 24, 2022
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Applying for internships can be taxing at times. Aside from making sure that your cover letter and resume are impeccable, you also worry about making a good first impression during your interview. We understand that interviews can be quite nerve-wracking. This is usually one of the last steps before you find out whether you get accepted or not. But, there’s no need to worry. We asked two college seniors for some interview tips.

Chabeng Mendoza is an AB Communication Arts student from De La Salle University. She is currently on her sixth internship already. Meanwhile, Bambi Ricafort is a BS Management Engineering student from Ateneo de Manila University. She is about to start her fourth internship. After going through multiple interviews, they've learned a thing or two on how to ace it and are sharing a few of their tips here.

Here are some of their tips to help you in your upcoming internship interview:

1. Use the CAR framework when elaborating on past experiences.

Bambi shares, "I try to pick out the details I already want and make sure it's in the 'context, action, result' framework, so I don't end up going beyond the time and I don't end up talking about unrelated things or the stuff that didn't really matter in the project."

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2. Don’t be overconfident.

For Chabeng, it's best not to sell yourself short, but also not to exaggerate your accomplishments. Chabeng says, "Don’t be too shy or overconfident. Saktong humble lang. Just lay out what you’ve done, but don’t be too proud." 

3. Schedule your “stress” time to lessen the time you worry.

Interviews can be stressful, and you have the right to feel so. For Bambi, it's about finding the right moment to let out your worries and then allotting enough time to find solutions for them. Bambi adds, "I set an alarm for the time that I'm allowed to be stressed. For example, my interview is at 2 o'clock. I'll set an alarm at 1:30, and I'm like, 'okay I can worry about it,' then I'll set an alarm for 1:50, so I know that by 1:50, I should fix all of the stuff on my computer, I can open them na, and I can make sure that there no technical difficulties."

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4. Try giving yourself a pep talk.

A little pep talk from yourself can actually do wonders. Chabeng says,"'Pag nando'n na ako sa waiting room… Bubuksan ko lang ang camera sa settings ng Zoom tapos kakausapin ko sarili ko. Sasabihin ko, 'kaya mo ‘to, kaya mo ‘to.' Sinasabi ko na i-enjoy ko lang."

5. Show your excitement to work for the company.

For Chabeng, it helps to try and make them see how important, helpful, and exciting this opportunity is for you. Being enthusiastic about the internship shows them you are eager to learn from and contribute to the company.

6. Do not be afraid to take your time to think. 

It may seem intimidating, but you don't have to have all the answers right away. Bambi shares, "Don't take like the whole five minutes, but you can just pause if you need to gather your thoughts. Before, I used to just go into the next sentence, and then in the middle of the sentence, I wouldn't really know what I was gonna say next."

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7. Remember what you’ve done and what you’ve learned from your past experiences.

For Chabeng, it helps to remember the tasks you did from your previous experiences. "Alalahanin mo not just the roles but what exactly they do in the job that you previously had."

But it also helps to take note of the things you actually ended up learning and picking up from doing those tasks. Bambi adds, "Before when I studied my experiences, I think I was too focused on what I did or the tasks and what I accomplished. However, sometimes they ask you, 'What did you learn in terms of soft skills?' So, I think it's good also to be prepared for that instead of making it up and reflecting on the spot."

8. Don’t mention anything that you do not fully know.

It's best to be truthful about what you know and don't. After all, the internship is an opportunity to learn, so you don't have to master the tasks right away. Bambi says, "Sometimes even if it's something super small, the HR person can pick up on it.”

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9. Create a question bank from your experience.

It might be useful for the next time you have to participate in another interview! Bambi shares, "Instead of focusing on what I should have said, I usually just note down the questions that I found hard to answer, and then I put it in the question bank. I take it as a learning experience. Next time, at least, I know that this is a question that is in the realm of possibility."

10. If you are asked a difficult question, try to answer as best as you can, and say it with confidence.

There are usually no right or wrong answers in interviews like this, so just do your best to answer honestly and show that you're open to learning. Bami says, "When you answer, they're not really looking for the correct one because I think most of them don't expect you to have prior experience. It's more that they want to know that you can think logically, and you have the potential to learn, instead of just being like, 'Oh, I don't know.'”

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We know that it’s hard not to overthink before the interview, but as Chabeng said, “The person interviewing you doesn’t know you, and you don’t know them, so parang getting to know lang.”

Interviews are a way for the company to know if you’re fit for the job. They don’t just look at the credentials. Chabeng adds, “If your personality goes well with the company, then there’s a great possibility na matatanggap ka nga, pero if hindi, that doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough for the company or something like that. It just means, malay mo, you’re meant for another company.”

We hope this helps. Good luck with your applications!

READ MORE:

How Being a Fangirl Helped Me Land My Internship

How This Pol Sci Student Landed an Internship in a Gaming Company

Being a Social Media Intern is Not As Glamorous As I Thought It Would Be

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A Student's Guide to Balancing Academics with Internships and Freelance Jobs

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