As the spring semester started this year, it officially kicked off the season of fresh internships and jobs. Companies are looking for students who are not only a value based asset to the firm, but are also a center of innovation, efficiency, and productivity. I receive a lot of questions especially from the students of my Alma Mater as to how to crack a successful internship or a job. The question seems to be simple, but the answer is not. As I look back 2 years from today, I still remember my first day in grad school in the US. The steps I took and the system I followed to land up to one of the most renowned global financial institution. It is a gradual process, and a path full of rejections and failures, until you get the big break.
Getting an internship at a top firm is often the easiest way to get a full-time job. But because the full-time conversion is relatively easy, securing an internship is way more difficult. Below are a few points I think a candidate should follow when interacting with a recruiter at a job fair/interview/or at a networking event:
- Tell me something about yourself. (Please have a story to tell):This is the first question which a recruiter or a manager asks you. Be sure to amaze the person with this one. When I was in B-school, people used to talk about elevator speech, and 60 seconds personality pitches. I have been going to schools for recruitment lately, and believe the last thing I want to hear is the same elevator speech format that your b-school has provided you. Instead have something interesting to say. Come directly to the point as to what specific skill sets you can bring with you to the firm and benefit it. Have a short story. It feels easy to talk and easier to hear and understand. And, if elevator speech is your ultimate favorite, then make sure to own it.
- Why do you want to join my company? (Research before speaking)
You are going to face this question, no matter what size or functionality the company has. This question is basically asked to ensure that you know where you are applying to. You really know what the company specializes in, and you think yourself fit for this firm. I ask this question every time, and I get a bad response majority of the time. If you are trying to tell me that my company is a financial institution specializing in financial advisory, I would figure out very easily that you just read out the first line from Google search or Wikipedia. We do a lot more than that, believe me.
- What do you want to do? (Know what you are writing or talking)
Whenever I ask candidates in job/internship fairs as to what do they want to do, I get responses like – “I want to do an internship in finance field”, “I want to go in finance”, “I want to be a banker”. It is very important here to understand what you are talking here. “Finance” is a huge umbrella, and it has numerous subdivisions. If you are saying that you want to do an internship in finance, it exhibits your disinterest towards the firm. Be more specific. The recruiter has hundreds of resumes to see, he/she has no time to find you an internship in the ‘finance field’. Work a little harder and be more specific.
- ‘Why’ do you want to do what you want to do? (You can win a consideration with this)
If you have answered pretty well in the last 3 questions, this question is the most important one in the queue. By this question, the recruiter is actually trying to understand why is it important for you to become what you want to become. In other words, do you have what it takes to be considered for the position – knowledge, aptitude, a realistic thought process, and a right enough reason? I have heard really bizarre answers to this question.
- Follow up with the recruiter:
Following up with the recruiter is a very important aspect as well. It exhibits your interest, patience, and your hunger to succeed. It is always a good thing to take the extra step which can move you up the ladder of consideration, and eventually lead you towards your dream internship/job.
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Arnab Pandey is a capital markets professional, an entrepreneur, a nationally awarded debater, an internationally acclaimed researcher, and a passionate blogger. He holds an MBA (Finance) degree from the Sykes College of Business at The University of Tampa, Florida. He procured his under-graduate (Bachelor of Technology) degree in the field of applied mechanics….. Read More