The spring semester of my junior year became crunch time as I navigated through interview after interview. I had three incredibly unique interview experiences, and I would love to take the time to dissect them here. We will call them Retailer #1, Retailer #2, and Reynolds and Reynolds.
I met Retailer #1 at the OSU Career Fair where they became immediately interested in me. A recruiter and I hit it off, and she signed me up for an on-campus interview for that Friday. I was ecstatic, but incredibly nervous because I only had three days to prepare. That Friday morning, I arrived in Gerlach Hall 15 minutes before my interview and sat with shaking hands. I kept looking at the clock as the minute hand slowly shifted. Unfortunately, it kept shifting until it was over 15 minutes past my interview time. About 20 minutes past the time, my interviewers came out to retrieve me, frazzled and apologetic for being late. We walked to a private room and conducted an interview, an incredibly uncomfortable interview. The next day I received an email that I hadn’t been selected for the job, and that they could give no feedback. It was a difficult experience to feel powerless, but I moved on in my internship search.
I found Retailer #2 online, and sent in my application. They responded within one week and asked me to complete a second application. I filled out the information, wrote an essay, and heard back by the end of the month that I had been selected to proceed to the video recorded interview. Retailer #2 conducted their interviews with no person on the other side! For my video interview I was prompted with seven questions. Every question was presented on my screen for 30 seconds, and then I had to record myself answering for two minutes. The scary part? There was only one take. What I said was permanent and would eventually be judged by their recruiting team. After the interview I felt confident in how it went and hoped to hear back. After two months of no responses, I emailed the recruiting office saying I had another offer. Retailer #2 never responded to me.
Reynolds & Reynolds:
My interviewing experience was transparent from beginning to end. I found Reynolds and Reynolds through OSU’s database, and became interested in them because they had an amazing internship reputation. After doing my research, I thought it would be incredible to work in B2B (business to business). I sent my application in through email. In less than three days I had a response. No, not a computer-generated response, but a person at the other end. She sent me a link to a video about previous interns’ experiences and requested that I filled out a few forms. Two days later I was prompted to complete assessments that would gauge my credentials and cultural fit. The most daunting part was an hour-long aptitude assessment, but if anything, it proved how seriously internships are taken at Reynolds. After I passed all the assessments, I had a Skype interview, took another aptitude test, and then had a final Skype interview to finish off the process. I was required to take a drug test, and was offered an internship the day my results came in. In retrospect, all I can say is wow. I accepted a position with Reynolds because their interviewing process was systematic and intentional. I was constantly aware of my status, and the recruiter knew me by name. This meant more to me than any company could ever know.
For the struggling student climbing through interviews, I offer this advice:
- Be aware that you are also interviewing the company. Their actions reflect their business.
- If you have a bad experience with a recruiter, pick yourself up and keep striving for success.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out about the status of your application.
- Practice being on camera. Many recruiters are gravitating towards Skype and online interviews.