Interviews can be a nerve racking experience, especially when you’re interviewing for an internship abroad. The fact that this is a once in a lifetime chance and a major life shaping event, can get anybody a bit nervous. Applying for an internship in China doesn’t have to make you nervous if you’re prepared for it. Preparation is the key to beating fear. The real challenge really isn’t even in the interview itself. The real challenge is in the preparation. Once you get that out of the way, you can start the interview with an impressive confidence that other applicants lack.
1. Get the Equipment ready -The first thing you want to do while preparing for any foreign internship is to make sure all of your equipment is in working order. Many interviews have been ruined by glitches that should have been caught beforehand. Check to make sure your computer is plugged in and fully operational. Be sure to test your internet connection to make sure it is operating fast enough for your Skype interview. Test your microphone, and check that your camera is functional and providing a clear image.
Remember not to use a mobile or IPad but a PC for the interview.
2. Prepare the Environment -Take a look at your environment. You don’t want to be in an area that is distracting to you or your interviewer. Background noise should be avoided as much as possible. If you must interview in a coffee shop or other distracting place, take the time to find a headset. The headset can do a lot to reduce background noise. You want as plain and as still of a background you can get. Having your bed in the background is unprofessional, and sends the wrong message.
3. What to wear -It’s tempting to be casual in an online interview, but don’t blow this chance for an international internship by not taking it seriously. Dress as you would in any interview. Be conservative; don’t wear loud colors that jump off of the screen. Dark colors are probably best. Leave any distracting or gaudy jewelry at home. How you dress can be the difference between reaching your dream of an internship abroad and staying home for another year.
4. Body language can make a big difference. Look your interviewer straight in the face. It may be tempting to look at your own image, but avoid it at all costs. Cover it up if you can’t get rid of the temptation. Sit in the middle of the screen, so you are the center of focus. Be conscious of nervous tics and fidgeting. Nobody wants to see you playing with your hair or chewing on your nails. Sit still, and don’t yawn. Yawning is considered rude.
5. Do your research about the organization that is interviewing you. Spend a bit of time on the internet getting to know the organization. This will help you become more confident and score a few points on the interview. Getting familiar with the company’s products and services, their company culture, and other details will help you impress the interviewer by showing that you care about the partnership with this business.
6. Mind your English. When doing an interview online, you never sound and interact in exactly the same way as being face-to-face with the interviewer. Especially in China, a country that is not accustomed to the English language, it can be hard for Chinese speakers to understand people who speak English with different accents. If you are not a native English speaker yourself, remember to talk a bit more slowly and clearly than usual to make sure the Chinese interviewer understands what you are saying.
7. Be yourself -Being conscious of your mannerisms and environment doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself. In fact, if you aren’t being yourself, you can come across as phony and ruin your chance at the internship. So relax, be yourself. Give it your best shot. Take all this advice. Give the interview your best effort.
An internship in China can truly be a life altering event. It makes you exotic, gives you unique experiences which are valuable to future employees, and can be a fun adventure. Refer back to this advice before your interview, and good luck!