This is the fourth installment of our Intern Diaries series, wherein each week our lovely interns give you the inside scoop on what being a programming intern at a high-tech startup is really like. Read the first and second post of the series or listen to this group’s first podcast.
Need to catch up? Read the first part of Madalyn’s 7 step guide to getting a tech internship here.
You get that wonderful email, that inspiring phone call: Would you like to come in for an interview? Hooray! Then the nerves hit. Oh no, interview! This is all that’s between you and that internship now. Just remember, don’t freak out. You’ve already risen to the top of everyone at the career fair. Your resume was put on the top of that giant resume pile. The company already strongly believes they want YOU. Why do they think that? Your people skills impressed them at the career fair; they were awed by your dazzling resume; and they have reason to believe (based on your school projects and past experiences) that you’ve got what it takes to work on a team and write good, quality code. But they don’t want a code monkey. They want an engineer. Someone who is thoughtful, and thinks deeply about the code they design.
So you got the interview. The company has thrown the first pitch and you’re up to bat. Unfortunately, as it has been true for me in the past, whenever I feel I’ve bombed the interview I’ve been offered the job, and whenever I think I’ve nailed it I’ve been rejected. So there is no sure-fire way to tell if you’ve done Step 4 correctly when you walk out of that interview room. (Aside from them offering you the job right then and there—which almost never happens).
So you’ll probably be nervous. And guess what? So will the company. They’ll be nervous for the awkwardness that is meeting new people and not knowing what to expect. Your interviewer(s) will be worried about you not being a good fit and having to interview yet ANOTHER candidate. So instead of reading hundreds of tech interview books (which can help with brushing up on those technical questions), here’s what you do:
Keep in mind that your interviewers don’t care all that much if you get the (technical) answer to every question right. They want to find someone who has good team and collaboration skills. They want to hire someone who can think through problems and who doesn’t give up. This is what you have to show them. Think out-loud; talk through problems. Show them your strategies. Draw diagrams on the whiteboard if it helps you (as a visual person, I’m always doing this, both in and outside of interviews). What you’re doing is letting them know you are not just some “computer science student.” You are a problem-solver. And that’s what really matters.
STEP 5: FOLLOW UP
You’re done with the interview, and now the stress is over. Make sure you email your interviewers and thank them all for their time. It’s most likely that your interview Continue reading The Intern Diaries: Madalyn [Part 2]