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The Interviewer is not your friend

Time and time again, job candidates make the critical error of behaving as if the interviewer is a trusted old friend. He or she is not. While you want to be relaxed during your interview, you don’t want to be too “chill” like you might be over a beer with some friends. This is true in the West or whether you’re interviewing for an internship in China.  Be aware of the following.

career advice, the interview is not your friend

This Isn’t A Two-Way Street

The only thing the interviewer cares about is herself and her employer, not you. When asked about your life, your passions, your goals, your interests, she wants to know what you can do for the company and where you can fit in. Keep that in mind as you answer her interview questions.

You Don’t Owe The Whole Truth

Honesty is a good thing, and you should be honest during your interview. That being said, you don’t have to spill every dirty detail about your past job experiences to your interviewer. Remember, she isn’t your friend and isn’t interested in your gossip or complaints. That being said, there’s always a way to put a positive spin on things. Think about how different the following sound, “I left my previous job because my boss never gave me a moment’s peace and was nothing but a micromanaging jerk.” Compare that to, “I’m interested in working at your company because of the opportunities to work independently.” How does that sound? Better, right?

3. Familiarity Isn’t Appropriate

Time to be on your best behavior. Don’t put your feet on the table and don’t speak in slang. These are complete turnoffs and absolute guarantees that you won’t get the job. You aren’t having a conversation with your friend, remember, so bad language is important. If it drives you crazy to be self-conscious about your mannerisms, tough. Practice with a real friend if you have to. The person interviewing you is likely to be higher up in the company than you, so behave.

In China, behavior is key to success. Chinese people like to remain calm, no showy or flashy and show plenty of restrain, or even little enthusiasm.

4. Nothing You Say Is Confidential

I have something to say, but it’s “off the record,” it’s “just between us.” Why would you think so? The interviewer has no obligation to keep the conversation a secret. Why would she? Watch what you say, especially when it comes to former employers. Even if you’re planning to intern in China for the first time, it doesn’t mean you can go off on your previously employer during the interview. It reflects badly on you, and the interviewer will notice.
Intern Update: Anna Setterberg
Internship Testimonial: Selman Haxhiu

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