Making the Best Out of a Bad Internship Interview

October 7, 2017 Alexandria Brown

Unconventional start for an internship

To say I didn't have a good internship interview is an understatement. I still was offered the position. Read what I learned from this experience. 

I wanted to offer up a sort of testimonial to the fact that a large part of taking on a semester with The Washington Center, gaining an internship, or striving to achieve anything in life is being ready for the unexpected. Even that means dealing with a difficult roommate in a foreign country while trying to conduct a Skype interview.

So, this past summer I spent 2.5 months volunteering in Transylvania, Romania. It was an eye-opening experience as I met people from all over the world, and I learned a lot about the unique dynamic of Eastern Europe. When I have chosen to travel, I noticed there were certain factors out of my control such as language, time, and people.

This was no different in Romania. Specifically, I had to be mindful of the 7-hour time difference between Transylvania and Washington, D.C. I found I had to do some time management acrobatics to make sure everything moved along smoothly, especially when it came time for final interviews with internship sites in D.C.

I completed a practice interview with my TWC internship advisor successfully, but on the day of my interview with my internship site, I faced quite an unprofessional moment.

Like I said previously another uncontrollable aspect of travel is the people you encounter. In the case of my volunteer trip, I couldn’t control the people I had to room with. As things often go, some people like what you do and some people don’t.

The interview began and I stationed myself at a table that was near a long enough extension cord. The chatter in the room was loud enough to drown out the interviewer. A simple request for a slight volume adjustment could set someone off, and that is what happened to me. I explained that I was having an interview with a possible employer but that did little to calm things. Long story short, my employer essentially watched me attempt to diffuse a conflict.

It was embarrassing, and it definitely wasn’t my most graceful moment. But that is the way of life. I did my best with the unexpected. Nonetheless, the individual that I interviewed with, offered me the internship position, anyway. So my advice to you, reader, is not to shy away from the unconventional. I did my best and really that is all that can be asked of any of us.

About the Author

Alexandria Brown

Alexandria majored in English and history and minored in environmental humanities at the University of Rochester in New York. She participated in TWC’s Fall 2017 Academic Internship Program, where she interned at Ashoka, a global non-profit that promotes social entrepreneurship.

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