Internships – Part One: Getting an Interview

“It’s rolling the dice,” Eric said, “trying to get an interview for one of these internships.”

On the second day of his internship, his boss presented him a stack of resumes. “He told me, ‘go through these, find five candidates to interview for the last internship spot.’”

“When you’re given 50 resumes and cover letters, and told to get it down to five, you look for any reason to discount someone. That’s how I eliminated the first half: I looked for any reason to not consider them. Typo – gone. Poor formatting – gone.

“One guy, trying to be funny in his cover letter, wrote he was looking for ‘slave labor employment.’ It was cute – he was eliminated. Another girl put a suggestive picture of herself as the background to her resume – gone.

“That got me down to 25 resumes, at which point it’s even more of a crap shoot, not less.” All of the obvious rejects were already sitting in the trash, he explained. With those that remained, how many were likely to jump out as the “right” person for the position?

Very few.

“It came down to my mood, or the little details I noticed in the resumes. ‘Oh, you went to a Big 10 School? Okay, you’re in.’ Or, ‘You went to Texas State? I like your football team, you’ll get interviewed.’ Any insignificant detail can make the candidate stand out, and it’s completely subjective to the person going through the resumes.” Eric shook his head. “Not to mention any subconscious biases or prejudices.

“I chose three resumes and realized they were all girls. And I’m not going to hand my boss five female candidates, so I eliminated the remaining girls from the stack of resumes. Which isn’t fair to them; anyone of them could have been more qualified than the three already picked, but that’s just the way it goes.

“It just makes me realize more that if you want to get somewhere in this industry, you have to know people. Submitting your resume to a database of resumes – like I did before – is fruitless. The people in charge want recommended people; they’re aware what a shot in the dark the hiring process is. If they pick a random, they could wind up with a psycho nobody likes. If they hire based on your recommendation, at least they’re removing the ‘random’ element. Everyone benefits when you hire based on a recommendation.”

Continue to Internships – Part Two: First Interview

Photo Credit: MindField Group

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