Getting Prepared for Internship and Job Interviews

Ah, summer! As summer 2022 begins so do the myriad of summer 2022 internships. Exciting! Nothing says summer like sunshine, ice cream, and incredible opportunities to immerse oneself into a role in an industry you are excited about. 

However, in some industries like Finance & Consulting, the start of summer 2022 also means the start of recruiting for summer 2023 opportunities. Below  are some thoughts to keep in mind as you prepare to recruit for summer 2023 (or even life post-Penn!).

(The information/article below is an excerpt from the Career Services Interviewing Guide, the full text of which can be found here). 

First, when preparing for an interview, keep in mind that when an employer invites you to an interview, he or she generally already thinks you may be qualified to do the job. The interview is the time when both candidate and employer exchange enough information to allow you both to determine whether you and the organization are a good “fit” for each other. Therefore, think of an interview as a highly focused professional conversation. Use the limited amount of time you have to learn about the employer’s needs and discuss the ways you can contribute to meeting them. 

Second, an important component of any pre-interview preparations is performing some background research on organizations and job types. To do this you have to understand the needs of the employer and the perspectives of the people who you will likely be talking to during an interview.

  • Understand the backgrounds of the interview team. If you can get the names of the people you will be interviewing with, then make sure to spend some time understanding their backgrounds and career paths. This might help you to focus on experiences that you might share in common with one of your interviewers, which can sometimes help to build rapport during an interview itself. 
  • Get to know the organization, the industry, and the position. Spend time reviewing organization websites, and familiarize yourself with the organization’s divisions, mission statements, and history. Learn about the industry, what are the most important trends in this field and how is the economy affecting the industry. Get some sense as to who the key players are, and be able to speak the “language of the industry”.  Your background research into employers will help you to identify the types of interviews and interview questions you can expect. 
  • Consider using your network of contacts to see if you can talk with people who have more specific experiences with an employer, or who can offer you some helpful insights into the interview process. Talk to alumni currently working at the organization to get more detailed information about what it takes to be successful there. You are not expected to be an expert in the particular field, but you should have enough knowledge to formulate meaningful questions to present to the interviewer. 

Finally, thinking about your experiences from the employers’ perspectives will help you to be able to talk confidently about them, and show that you can tie in your previous expertise to your future work effectiveness and productivity. And as always, Penn Career Services is here to help!

By Megan Chambers
Megan Chambers Associate Director, Wharton Undergrad