Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].
I’m an avid reader of Going Concern and I was wondering if you could help ease my anxiety on my Superday coming up fairly soon. I’m currently a senior in a master’s program and I am looking for an internship this Winter. I’ve interviewed with all Big 4 and only managed to score a second round with PwC for a Northeast location. I do have a couple back up offers but really want PwC. Do you have any tips or other insights on these superdays? I often read that the majority of people attending superdays get an offer but I don’t want to feel too confident. Any insights you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
I’ll do my best to give you some honest insight on Superdays, although I don’t know if it will quiet your fears.
Your biggest competition at the Superday will be yourself and your choice to pursue a winter internship (presumably tax?). Everyone knows that the summer internship programs are the bees’ knees: barely 40 hours a week; summer outings; awesome schwag. Winter internships, on the other hand, have been traditionally limited in numbers but extensive in experience. This is changing a bit this year, as firms are looking for a small uptick in winter interns to help offset the turnover in staff. The firms’ practices have higher standards for the students they hire for this time of year because they’ll be doing actual work (relative to the summer class). But should you land one of the spots on the winter intern bench, you’ll be poised to rake in a lot of overtime $$$. So, what do you need to do at the Superday to best position yourself for one of the internship spots? Keep your cool. Keep your confidence.
Be flexible. Winter interns are oftentimes from local universities, since many students balance a light credit schedule while putting in long hours at 300 Madison Avenue (or 345 Park, or…okay you get it). If you’re in this position, oversell your availability to work. Think you’re taking 15 credits? Say your’e taking 12. Available on weekends? You bet! They’re looking to hire workhorses, not show ponies. If you’re taking the semester off, that’s great; make sure the recruiter knows this. Talk about your willingness to work long hours and do “what’s best for the team” even if that means working weekends. The goal is to land an offer, not sound like someone with a grasp on reality. “Work the entire month of February and sleep under my desk?!?! Sign me up!!!”
Now, then. General advice for Superdays:
You’re always being watched. Think that the teambuilding event is trivial? Think again. The recruiters will be watching how you interact with the team members. One comment of “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done” will get you dinged. Sit down, shut up, and BE REALLY EXCITED TO PLAY WITH MARKERS.
Careful with the booze. Every firm’s 2nd round interview program is different, but be sure to take it easy if there is booze involved. Take a page out of my BFF Patti Stanger’s book: keep it to two drinks. You’ll loosen up, it’ll taste GREAT after the long day, but you won’t get too loose lipped. Just because the evening’s atmosphere is casual, doesn’t mean the office managing partner should know what you’re getting your boyfriend for Christmas.
Shoot for the middle of the fairway. Every in-office interview program has the same cast of characters. The Funny Guy. The Guy Who Thinks He’s Funny But Isn’t. The Girl Who’s Skirt is Questionably Short. The Guy Who is Wearing His Father’s Suit. The Sit in the Corner Special. The Candidate with Too Much School Pride. The Leader Who Doesn’t Know How to Be a Team Player.
Umm, yeah. Don’t be any of those.
Easy on the cellphones. Silence it, turn it off, and only look at it on breaks. Nothing pisses off an over-the-hill recruiter more than watching a room full of Millennials texting and tweeting over their morning fruit salads.