Internship Insights with ABSA
On January 30th, we held an internship searching panel with current ABSA exec members to learn all about the process, how they applied, and materials they used to prepare for interviews.
Meet the Panelists!
Ella is a junior majoring in HR and will be interning at Boeing this summer as a HR Generalist.
Kelley is a sophomore majoring in Accounting and Finance and will be interning at Moss Adams as a Guide Pilot Steer (GPS) in their rotational program.
Lydia is a junior majoring in Accounting and Finance and she will be interning at PWC as an External Auditor.
Q & A
What did the recruitment process look like?
Ella: There was a quick turnaround– turned in an application for an offer within a month. Two days after the call she got an interview at FOUNDERS and was able to get a position after a spot was open. Her advice is to not worry if you feel behind because there will be positions that open later on so keep a lookout for opportunities in the spring.
Kelley: She applied in September and everything was finalized at the end of September. She had virtual interviews with a behavioral interview and two 30-minute interviews with a partner or manager that was a bit more professional. After these interviews, she received a call. Her advice is to apply the earlier the better. She also notes that accounting and finance do two cycles early in winter and spring.
Lydia: She interviewed at the end of winter quarter last year. She had one round with the partner and managing director and all interview questions were behavioral besides one being accounting or financial related.
What is the biggest difference between the recruitment styles?
Ella: Never done an online meeting, but in person, they dress up the full way and it can be more unnerving because your body language is easier to see.
Lydia: Never done an in-person meeting, but you can tell if a conversation is going well and contrast good vs bad interviews by the flow.
Kelley: Has experienced both online and in-person recruitment. For online interviews, background is important for focus and for individuals watching. You can tell how the interview is going based on the vibes and body language also is important.
What online platforms did you use? What strategies do you have for specific internships?
Ella: She went to a business RSO meeting (super important!) and the people at the event ended up reading her resume.
Lydia: Handshake because it is geared toward students and has opportunities that you cannot find elsewhere
Kelley: Handshake! Also looked for in person events if you know what companies you are looking for since it is a good way to connect. Schedule a zoom meeting or mention your name to the recruiter to start off the process to learn more about where to start.
John: Career fairs! Exploring a wide plethora of platforms can help you identify which you want to use.
How do you keep track of scheduling for interviewing and applying?
Ella: She makes spreadsheets for everything including information such as what company, the recruiter, the connection, did I get a phone screen, interview, application deadline, etc.
Kelley: She had companies that she wanted to work at so she sat down for a couple hours and then worked on applying to all of them because the information is similar. Then she marked on her calendar when interview responses were received from the company.
Lydia: She put all deadlines and interviews in Google Calendar and set some time aside to practice interviews. She didn’t use a spreadsheet because she didn’t apply to many but highly recommends using one if you are applying to a lot.
Common behavioral questions asked in interviews? Specific questions asked for your specific internship position?
Ella: Find questions online and go through your personal experience to file away which experience fits under what category so that you can formulate your answer to the company. Try to formulate an experience bank in your head and think of any involvement, gather your thoughts and organize them so that you can respond.
Kelley: Really research the company you want to work at (value, mission statements, what you are interested in and why, why us) and make sure you know why you want them to offer you the job. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. A common question is “Can you tell me about a time… challenge/xyz?”. Make sure to call upon and elaborate on your experience during your response.
Lydia: Interviewers want to see how you react, think, and elaborate. Find experiences that you want to talk about and elaborate on how you learn from those experiences. Ask interviewers questions about themselves even if you are not actually interested in the interviewer!
John: Check job descriptions and keywords that the internship is looking for so you can better tailor your responses and know your resume well.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew while you applied for internships? What would you do next time that you did not do this time in the recruiting season?
Ella: Take it seriously, even if you mass apply. Tailor your resume to the job and review the job description so you understand the role. She has a wide range of interests so she applied to anything with the word business in it but wanted to slow down and think about it a bit more.
Kelley: Really prepare for your interview, not just the job aspect, but write down questions to ask interviewers (make sure you positively stand out). Look into the person who is interviewing you and search them so you can guide the interview by connecting with the interviewer on a personal level. You can also come up with more questions that make the interviewers stumped a little and connect with them even more.
Lydia: She did not know a lot about the roles she was applying for, so make sure to deeply research them beforehand. Other advice is to talk through the roles you are applying to with other people who have also been through the recruitment process because you’d get more knowledge and insight.
John: What values company’s look for in your interns and what is expected of interns in their role.
Which past experiences may be more appealing to particular jobs? (i.e. what to put for a accounting role or financial analyst job)
Ella: Whatever experiences you have, make them work with the role, even if it is not perfectly aligned and take the bits and pieces that can be relevant and make it relevant.
Kelley: Audit looks for juniors and seniors taking upper-level courses and areas you want to be in. For younger students, it is expected you do not have as much technical experience and companies have started to do programs targeted for these people. Look for those beginner or early-on opportunities such as PWC’s early start internships.
Lydia: If you're in an intern position, the company will know that you do not have much knowledge or experience, so they want to see how you can cater that experience into your own personal and professional growth. Not a lot of knowledge is expected, but it is good to know things about the role you are applying to so pick experiences that highlight your learning and growth, as well as things that cater to the job.
On-campus opportunities to boost your resume?
Ella: If you are mildly interested in something, try to get something that you can find some experience that you can apply to any position because getting involved is never bad! ASUW student government has an application process but it is an on-campus job (completely student-led) and you can gain lots of experience from the different roles.
Lydia: Networking/recruiting fairs let you get to know more about the company. She was introverted and shy at first but brought a friend so she was able to get to know more people and companies. You can learn from peers and also it's important to become more comfortable with yourself.
Kelley: Join RSOs that you connect with especially since they are a great way to get skills and learn from others. Recruiting fairs also help you learn more and make sure you make all experiences sound as relevant as possible.
John: Everyone can have the same role but have different outcomes and opportunities, so sell this to the recruiter. Be involved in a lot of RSOs, even if it is not something that you will not be using such as interviewing people as part of ABSA. Gain experiences and valuing these while learning from people and editing the process. It's important to know what you gain out of the role and what you gain rather than the role itself.
What are specific things that make you stand out?
Lydia: Try to make connections with people by meeting up with individuals from the company and asking questions.
Do internships care about GPA?
Ella: Most have a minimum GPA like 3.3 but prefer a higher one. Typically they care more about background information but they will ask for transcripts.
Lydia: She sent her transcript but was unsure about whether it was looked at or not. Keep in mind a 4.0 is not guaranteed the job.
Kelley: Remember a few key things about what the interviewers said then ask questions about what the interviews said and connect to something else. You do not have to fixate on GPA.
Can you sacrifice your GPA for RSOs?
Ella: It is all about moderation, you obviously do not want to sacrifice too much of your GPA for RSOs.
Kelley: Make sure you can manage and know how much you can manage.
John: Depends on your future plans but make sure to find a balance between gaining experience and class grades.
Karina: Get to the point when emailing, telling them you are a student first of all but you want to learn more. Include your resume and set up times you can meet with them (at least 2 available times). Follow up with a thank you email about what you learned and what you look forward to.
When should you start the internship search?
Lydia: As soon as possible, the earlier the better.
We hope these internship insights helped you with your searching and you gained more information about the process as a whole. We hope to see you next week at our Breaking into Tech event with Avanade!!