On-campus interviews at Penn started earlier this week. A popular question I have received from students over the past few weeks is how to address an uncomfortable interview question – why didn’t you receive a return offer from your summer employer? If you are going through the interview process, here are some things to keep in mind:
Take a deep breath. While your summer experience may not have ended as you hoped, you are now beginning the process to find your next opportunity. Try to focus on the great opportunities available as you proceed through the interview process and consider each interview as a new opportunity that could be the right fit for you.
Be confident when discussing your summer internship experience. When interviewing, keep in mind it’s not only what you say but how you say it. If you respond to the interview question in a nervous or less than confident manner, that could lead your interviewer to be less confident in your candidacy.
Remember, you have the chance to tell your story. Think carefully about your summer experience and discuss some of your accomplishments. Reflect on what you learned and talk about how you’ve grown from the experience and are looking forward to leveraging your skills and talents for your next employer.
In a previous blog post, I also recommended maintaining a mature, positive attitude, taking some responsibility for what happened, sharing positive feedback you received and having one or two co-workers from your summer experience who can speak on your behalf. You can find more on these suggestions by reading my post on Tough Interview Questions: https://ulife.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/blog/2014/10/02/tough-interview-questions-why-did-you-not-receive-a-full-time-job-offer-from-your-summer-internship-employer/
If you would like to discuss how to tailor your response to your specific situation and circumstances, please connect with an advisor in Career Services. We are happy to help you figure out how to craft your response!