Monday, November 17, 2014

A Must Read for Anyone Interviewing While Studying Abroad

If you haven't guessed it by now... The 'Intern Queen' is abroad. That's right for the first time in a long time, I don't have an internship. And although there is a lot to be said about enjoying your college experience that can fill up a whole another blog post, chances are you are abroad as a Junior/Senior and NEED an internship next semester.

If you don't believe me...just take a quick look at this graph by The Chronicle. 



Still think you can put off internships? Here's another. Take a quick look at the far right hand side.

In order to get an internship next semester (or summer for you spring semester kids). You're going to have to interview abroad. A challenge that is daunting, yet can be rewarding - if you can stay awake. There are several problems, or things you should keep in mind.

Time Change

This one is a bitch. Interviews normally take place in the afternoon pacific standard time, so this can leave you staying up until 2am for one Skype/phone interview.

I've found the best times for those studying abroad in England/Western Europe to interview for Cali-based positions are as follows:
9am PST = 5/6pm your time.
10am PST = 6/7pm your time.
11am PST= 7/8pm your time.
12pm PST= 8/9pm your time.
1pm PST= 9/10pm your time.
2pm PST= 10/11pm your time.

I usually cut off interviews at 2pm PST, any later and you won't be at your best cognitively.

The No Phone Game

As you've realized by now, you can't use your US phone number/ sim card abroad. Between rooming charges, having to turn it off airplane mode at certain times, and the difficulties that arise if you bought a UK sim, it's just not worth phone interviews. Always alert the interviewers immediately of your abroad situation ! They have likely dealt with it before. 

Suitable Alternatives: Skype is the best. 
If the interviewer insist on calling you via a US Phone Number: You can purchase one via Skype for about $4 a month! Interview season is also only about 2 months long!

If the interviewer wants to talk on the phone: You can call them by just adding credit to your Skype account ($5-10) max. 

If the interviewer is okay with video chatting: Skype is the best! As you can see...I'm a fan of Skype. 

The Refusal

If the interviewer refuses to interview you because you cannot come physically into the office. That really does say something about how they treat their interns. Large companies such as ABC/ Discovery/ Lionsgate/ and NBCUniversal make accommodations for all their abroad intern applicants. 

Phone Interviews Are Different

The reason I obviously love Skype so much is that the majority of the interview is usually the interviewer telling you about the company. This makes phone interviews very impersonal if they are conducted in the same way- as they often are. You can't show that you are listening without making annoying noises. You also can't show your personality except in the very meager questions they ask. You can't take cues for when to stop talking either. 

There is a very special art to phone interviews on behalf of the interviewee and the interviewer. I can't even say I have mastered it myself. Just be wary and careful. 

No pressure, but a person that interviews on the phone will almost always lose out to those that interview in person. This isn't true to Skype interviews, but for audio only I've seen it happen numerous times. Just try your absolute best to show your interest and act as engaged as possible. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you, focus on your state-side life and not the one you are living abroad. They don't want to hear about Paris and how cold it is, they want to hear about how you will fit in their internship program come January. 

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