During second-year I had my first ever formal interview for an industrial placement at GSK. Despite intense preparation, my lack of experience intensified the pressure I was already under.
On the day of the interview I tried to remain calm and composed, however walking into the reception area I have never felt more out of place. There were at least 30 other students all dressed in sharp suits, exuding confidence, intimidating just like a scene out of The Apprentice.
The interviewers themselves were incredibly welcoming which put me at ease, although there were a few early signs that I was not as suited to the role as I thought, particularly as the current student within the role specialised in physics – completely different to my biological science degree. I felt that I had aced the competency-based questions but then came technical questions which I was not expecting, including chemistry calculations. I panicked and had to be honest and admit that I could not solve them off the top of my head.
Although I was not offered the job it was a positive learning experience and helped me prepare for my next interview – which I was offered the job for!
Based on this experience here is some advice that I wish I had known before:
- Be confident: To be offered an interview in the first place demonstrates that you have impressed the employer already, so have faith in your own abilities and try not to be intimidated by other candidates
- Research the interview process: There is a wealth of information online about what previous students have experienced during interviews for industrial placements, so it is definitely worth looking at to ensure you are prepared for whatever they may ask and not be caught off guard
- Make sure the role is the right match: An interview is also an opportunity for you to learn from the employer to ensure that the job is the right match for your skillset. It is perfectly fine to turn down an offer if you do not feel the job is right for you.
- Learn from each experience: Each interview, even if unsuccessful, is an opportunity to learn and gain experience for future job applications and will help build your confidence
I wish you the best of luck!
Written by Emme Hunt