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Intern experience misunderstanding during fit interview

fit interview Fit questions
New answer on May 31, 2024
8 Answers
115 Views
Anonymous A asked on May 28, 2024

The HR manager who was interviewing me for the fit part asked me how did I secure one of my work experience which I listed as “intern” and I told her it's a masters requirement to work with a company and on a real world project. She then asked sso you didn't have any internships right ? I thought she was asking about internships with management consulting firms so I answered with a "no". The interview went very well overall however this last bit is haunting me terribly. Should I email her to clarify the misconception or would be taken negatively, please help me take the best action.

 

(edited)

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Charlotte Fay
Expert
replied on May 28, 2024
Senior Leader, former McKinsey engagement manager, CEO, passionate to coach you to succeed at leading consulting firms

dear candidate, that is wonderful. so great. do not worry about this at all. you have succeeded, there was a challenge, you gave an answer. do not follow up because of this. if for any other reason eg after a certain time you follow up generally, you can use this as a great  opportunity to present yourself and you will succeed. eg you can mentiom interests or achievemenrs that matter. be patient and lots of success. best regards.

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Ariadna
Expert
replied on May 28, 2024
BCG | Project Leader and Experienced Interviewer | MBA at London Business School

Hi there, 

I'm a little bit confused myself about the misunderstanding. 

So, you had an internship listed on your CV, but when talking about it you essentially said you did not have any internships? 

Did you discuss anything else about your experience (learnings, what did you actually do) during that internship? In that case I don't think there can still be any doubt about the nature of the experience - so to me it would be a bit pointless to write back. 

If you feel that the experience was not discussed at all because she did not view it as an internship, you could write a very polite note, saying you realized you might have miscommunicated your experience during the interview and experience XYZ was in fact an internship, that lasted for XY duration with company ABC. 

Now a bit of unsolicited advice: through your answer you might have positioned the internship just as a mandatory school assignment, that did not mean that much. When she asked you how did you get it, she was looking to understand how competitive it was to get the role (aka was it something just “assigned” to you or were you selected among other candidates). If it was competitive, it is a sign you stood out amongst others, so a good indication of your relative performance. If this was indeed the case, make sure your answers reflect the competitive nature, as this helps you stand out. 

Hope this helps, 

Ariadna 

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Anonymous A on May 28, 2024

Hello Adriana thank you very much for the kind answer. Yes thankfully my answer yo "how did you get it" showed competence, because that was the case. And we discussed the experience thoroughly, it's part of my fyp to have an internship/project with a real world company so that's why I listed it as an internship (and it definitely is). However, after telling her how did I get it, she asked "but you didn't have any interns" so I said no thinking she meant management consulting ones.

(edited)

Ariadna on May 28, 2024

What do you think "but you didn't have any interns" meant? As in you did not manage a team of interns? Or that there were no other interns? This is very confusing to me. In any case, I think it's good news you got to showcase your experience. What you did there should be the most relevant part of the discussion.

Anonymous A on May 28, 2024

By interns I believe she meant internships, my fears are that she thinks I've slapped an "intern" title on a job experience that doesn't encompass the term intern. That's why I wanted to message her back. However, that experience in particular was a major part of our discussion and I believe she was pleased with my answers. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much Adriana, it means a lot.

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 29, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Don't worry about it. 

I think it would be rather weird now to follow up with clarifications. 

She probably forgot about it altogether. 

Also, interviewers decide on your situation based on the content of your performance during the interview. Your CV was important only at the screening component. 

So focus on what you can influence now. This doesn't matter at this point. 

Hope you get good news soon!
Cristian

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 29, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

While it is impossible to guess what the interviewer actually marked you - a key learning here is to be forcefully calm and patient when answering questions in interviews. Sometimes clarifying the question further can also lead to much more reliable interview experience.

Regarding your actual interaction as per your question and comments - the story is a bit confusing. If an internship was a masters requirement - did you have to still go through a rigorous recruiting process (which you should have talked about). 

Then regarding the interviewer question on internships - its tough to say because we don't know the exact words of the interviewer - and what they would have meant in that context. Judging by your question, it could have meant that the interviewer was asking about internships in-general (because your masters internships sounded more like a mandatory project). Regardless, tough to say how it registered.

Whether to go out and write an email to clarify your position - is a tough thing to decide. I would err on the side of not sending it. But this discussion was with the HR manager it was probably not an actual interview but a screening call - in which case you might just want to clarify. Was it a screening call as such? or an interview?

(edited)

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Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 29, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

if the interviewer had been confused by your answer, she would have most likely followed up to clarify right there on the spot. Given that she didn't, it likely means that the whole thing wasn't that important after all. If that was the only thing out of the entire interview that fills you with uncertainty, then you are probably in a good spot.

Anyway, don't follow up about it - it would just make you look super insecure. Just wait for the official feedback.

Fingers crossed

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 29, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Given what you wrote in some answers here, I don't think it will be an issue. Sounds a bit like a classic case of overthinking. :-)

Fingers crossed and all the best,

Florian

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 29, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Everything is already set after sharing the CV and having the conversation. Relax and let them take the decision. If they reject you because of this you can clarify it afterwards.

Most probable case you are worrying about something that will never happen :)

Best,

Alberto

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Pedro
Expert
replied on May 31, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

This doesn't seem to be a big issue. You may have undermined a bit your own internship, but HR are experienced with this, they know exactly what things are, independently of how you portray them.

Furthermore, going back to this topic after the interview will not help your case. 

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Charlotte Fay gave the best answer

Charlotte Fay

Senior Leader, former McKinsey engagement manager, CEO, passionate to coach you to succeed at leading consulting firms
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