Spring Forward Series: Tips on Handling Multiple Interview Sessions

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February 19, 2014 by Lainey

Kevin JiangMeet Kevin Jiang, a 3rd year McCombs student who managed to pull through interviews with seven recruiters over a three-hour period to snag that perfect internship with Intel. He will major in Management Information Systems and is enrolled in the Business Honors Program. Kevin is also an avid break dancer in his spare time and teaches others how to break it down on the dance floor inside of Jester hall.

So Kevin, how did this all start? 

Well, I only applied to two companies – Intel and Ericsson. [I] Heard back from Intel very quickly for an internship with their Project Management team and am now finalizing all the details with them!

What was your recruiting/interview schedule like?

My overall recruiting schedule was rather light, actually. I’ve been a part of the Undergraduate Career Committee, in charge of setting up the McCombs Career Expos, since the Spring 2012 so I was relatively experienced with talking to company representatives from both a professional and academic perspective.

As I knew how helpful the Career Expo was, I decided to concentrate most of my efforts there. The night before, I went through all the companies and found specifically ten of which I plotted into an excel sheet, wrote a small description about each, and looked up their rating on Glassdoor just to get an idea of how other people felt working for them. On the day of, after setting up the event in the morning, I got to recruit for a few hours, speak, and learn more about the companies I was interested in.

Aside from the Career Expo, I also went to Career Week Sneak Peak to talk to a few companies too.

Interestingly enough, however, I received the opportunity with Intel through an e-mail from the MIS listserv, which MIS304 Professor Katie Gray sent out. Just goes to show that there are definitely resources around that you should be on the lookout for.

Would you be able to identify exactly what helped you prepare for your interview “super day?”

I spent a few days before [the interview] familiarizing myself with Intel Austin’s core strengths, what the position entailed, how my past experience made me a great fit for the position [and not just listing out what I’ve done], having stories ready to be told, and revisiting my MIS301H, MIS304, and MIS325 assignments. Make sure you get at least [six] hours of sleep so you feel and look well-rested. As the interview was three hours long with a total of seven different people, coming in singles, pairs and even someone phoning in from California, I knew they were going to be thorough.

Wow, that has to be tough! How did you prepare for and deal with the mental fatigue and stress?

Most of the mental fatigue I [experienced] was during the night before, where I was getting more and more tired while reviewing over past work. Additionally, the thought of an impending three hour interview was intimidating for the few days before. “What on Earth could they ask me for three hours?!” “How many people would I have to meet…?”

What I read about project managers and business intelligence actually helped me on a stress level – they tend to break down identifiable relationships and variables that made sense, while complicated when put together. I pretty much just took this perspective and kept it throughout the interview and made everything very logical and easy. “Just break it down,” I thought.

Help us out, Kevin. What advice can you give us to get through our own interview “super days?”

During the interview, you’re going to be given questions, which sometimes you won’t be able to answer off the top of your head. The key to making sure the recruiters gain something while you come up with your answer is to walk them through your thinking processes too. Breaking down the question aloud will help them see where you’re going with it and help you more easily figure out a good answer.

And our last question is if you could go back in time and prepare for your interview “super day” again, would you have done anything differently?

I’d go back and relearn more of the material as I did a very light review in terms of what type of work I did and specifically how SQL and VB functioned.

I lied! This is our last question! So here’s a fun question: What was the most rad moment you had in either prepping for the interview or actually during your interview? 

As I was given a tour around the building, we were going through the gym; I had the thought that it would’ve been sick if I could teach an interviewer how to do a breakdance move then and there. Alas, I did not, but maybe next time.

Yes, maybe next time Kevin! However, it looks like you’re all set to go regarding your internship plans, so maybe you can teach some Intel employees a trick or two this summer! Thank you for the interview, and we’ll see you blog readers next time on the Spring Forward Series. Feel free to leave your own comment below with questions and comments.

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The PCA Blog Series “Spring Forward” will post a new article each week, bringing you a dose of unique career-related student insights from your very own peers at the Red McCombs Business School at The University of Texas at Austin.

Bookmark our blog to stay tuned for our next post: Have you ever done something completely weird in an interview? Did you ever wish you could take it all back? 

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