We’ve interviewed a lot of students, mostly from UVa, who are interested in working at VividCortex. All of them are bright and capable, but we’ve had some very unprofessional experiences with students. The intention of this post is not to talk about the technical shortcomings (we have some advice in a future post) or critique, but rather, basic ways to hack your way into a cool internship. This advice comes directly from actual experiences interviewing 20+ students in the last few months. It’s generally applicable to all job seekers, but targeted to students.
Top 10 Ways to Hack Your Way to a Cool Internship
- Be five minutes early. Being on time is very important for a job interview. You should budget enough time to be early to everything throughout the interview process.
- First impressions really matter. We have a good feeling about a candidate after about 5 to 10 minutes. That’s all it takes, so dress nice, shave, and try not interview the day after a rager.
- Get referred by someone else. If you have friends or professors that know people in the company, ask them for an introduction. You will always get priority over the standard application process.
- Bring copies of your resume. Don’t assume that the company will have copies. It’s good for starting a conversation.
- Really know something about the company. Ask your main contact at the company where they can read more about the company. Prepare at least three questions about the product, market, founders, etc that you can’t find answers to on their website. This shows genuine interest.
- You don’t know it all. It’s ok to be confident, but it’s not ok to pretend to know everything. It’s better to admit you don’t know something, or ask for advice, than to try to b.s. your way through an answer. Humility goes a long way.
- Don’t cancel your interviews. Too many candidates have excuses for not being able to make an interview. Most tech companies are very busy and creating scheduling issues and time changes never makes anyone happy.
- Create a visible online presence. Spend some time making a LinkedIn page. Develop a small personal website. Link to the projects you’ve created. Use GitHub, StackOverflow, Behance, etc.
- Do not ask for a ride to our offices. Regardless of your ride situation, you will need to be able to get to work on your own. You might have to venture on public transportation, or ride a bike, but that’s life.
- Be prepared to make lemonade. You should expect that the company says no. If that is the case, ask them politely for the reasons they said no and for suggestions on where to learn what was missing. You can then take this lesson to sharpen your skills and/or come back to the company in the future.
What other advice would you give to younger candidates? Is this helpful?