A beginner’s guide to the job interview:
Five tips from interns to help get you hired

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a trainee, or you’re interested in finding an internship or apprentice opportunity, the journey towards the job you want can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the interview.

Answering questions in front of a potential employer can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve gathered some tips and suggestions from recruiters and interns at Philips to help you ace your next job interview.
1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Do your research on the company ahead of the interview. Check out the website and learn what you can about the organization. Read the latest annual report and find out about the company’s strategy, plans and leaders.
"If you're connected to someone who’s working at the company, talk to them and get an insider’s view of the work culture." Aleksandar, marketing intern.
Otherwise, check out Glassdoor reviews and see what past and present employees are saying about working there. 

Mariett from Philips’ Business Transformation team suggests, “Once you’ve been invited for an interview, look up their LinkedIn profile and get some idea of who’s doing the interviewing — it will help to make you less nervous.”

The more you know about a company and the people you are meeting, the better prepared you are to answer questions and position yourself as a good prospective employee. Annelie an intern with Philips Health Economics & Market Access team takes it one step further and recommends “Preparing some questions to ask at the end of the interview shows that you’re thinking ahead.”

2. Honesty is best.

You may not want to reveal all your flaws during an interview but be honest about what you know and what you don’t know. Be yourself and answer questions with sincerity.

Thomas a software intern with Philips’ Research was upfront when asked what he was looking to develop, explaining he wanted “Real responsibility in an early stage research project, to improve my technical and project management skills.”

If you’ve highlighted your fluency in Italian on your resume, be prepared to demonstrate this skill (after all, the interviewer might be a native). Is the recruiter using unfamiliar jargon or an acronym you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask for clarity.

If an interviewer invites you to share your biggest weakness, your answer should not be chocolate fudge cake.

Your responses provide the recruiter with some telling insights about your reaction in an unexpected situation as well as your sense of self-awareness and constructive self-criticism. Embrace each question and consider it an opportunity to demonstrate how you overcame a relevant challenge and how it links to the position for which you’re applying.

3. ​​​​​​​Have an open mind-set

​​​​​​​Not everybody has a set career plan and that can be a good thing because it’s an opportunity to give yourself the space to explore different options and try out for jobs you might never have previously considered.
Your expectations about a particular role might also be different to reality.

Jenny an intern with Philips’ procurement team explained that having applied for a couple of internships and gone through the interview process for both, she found that while she might have initially been more interested in one of them, “I realised it wouldn’t have been right for me.”

Be open-minded about your career options and be prepared to actively explore different areas. Just because you start your career in human resources doesn’t mean you’ll be doing that for the rest of your professional life. When you embark on a new job, different opportunities present themselves and your career may end up taking an unexpected and potentially more rewarding direction.

4. Be selective.

Searching for a job should be a considered process. Randomly applying for any job because you need to get your career going is not the way to kick-start a meaningful working life. What type of organization do you want to work for? Is there a particular culture that suits you better?

Thomas from Philips’ Research weighed up the merits of working for a multinational corporation versus a start-up and decided a corporate environment suited him better. “I knew it would be interesting to work with a larger, more diverse group of people... compared to the same small group of people in a start-up.”

For Jenny, the corporate life was interesting, but that was only part of it, “I wanted to work in an international environment with a culture of different people around me.” 

Checking online resources such as Glassdoor can give you some insights into a company’s attitude so you can find a workplace that is your better match. For some people, a company with a clear mission and shared values is an important consideration, while for others it’s the chance to work on a project that makes a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

5. Cooking with confidence.

Job interviews can certainly rattle your nerves, and while it’s natural to be nervous, you can minimize anxiety by being prepared.

Intern Annelie advises, “Google the most common interview questions and prepare answers to questions ahead of time.” She also suggests equipping yourself with some personal highlights that you can talk about with the recruiter, “What are you most proud of, your strongest qualities, development points and what you can bring to a team.”

It’s important to remember that while you’re interviewing for a job, the interview is a two-way street also giving you an opportunity to assess a prospective employer, a perspective that might help make you less anxious.

When Aleksandar was interviewing with a number of prospective employers he knew which one he preferred the most, “I really loved the environment at Philips and didn’t feel this way anywhere else.”
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