Posted 07.05.19 by Ellie Harlow
Thank you so much for applying to our Summer Internships. We really appreciate the time and effort everyone put into their answers and we were so impressed with the answers we saw.
Whilst we’re not able to offer personalised feedback further to what is included in the Applied link as we were lucky enough to have had over 2,600 applications, we’d like to share some helpful feedback about what we were looking for and which answers caught our eye.
For all questions, the STAR method is great for structuring your answer – Situation (give context and set the scene), Target (what was the aim), Action (what you did and how you did it), Result (what happened).
Q1. Tell us about a time when you’ve used your communication skills to build a relationship with someone who had a different view to yours. How did you tackle it and what was the outcome?
This question was about communication and building relationships with people.
The best answers all went into detail about the following things: 1) explanation of the situation and how the other person’s view differed to their own, 2) identifying and empathising with the other person’s point of view, and 3) how they took steps to build the relationships given these perceived challenges.
It was important to focus on the element of building a relationship, rather than just persuading someone to your point of view. We were impressed by answers that built relationships using a variety of thoughtful communication techniques – such as understanding the other person’s perspective / context, listening and empathising and looking for common ground on which to move forward.
Q2. Tell us about a time when you’ve taken initiative and been proactive in finding a solution to a problem before being asked. What steps did you take and what was the result?
We’re looking for people to demonstrate that they can be proactive, take initiative and anticipate what is needed, even before being asked. This meant looking for examples of where you went above and beyond your normal role or brief to identify a potential problem and took steps to solve it before it became an actual problem.
The best answers 1) told us clearly what the situation was and the potential problem they’d identified, 2) outlined what steps they took to mitigate or prevent the problem, 3) demonstrated proactivity and forethought, and 4) their solution meant that they provided a real benefit or additional support to those around them.
Examples which stood out included creating new processes to make their working team more efficient or delivering exceptional customer service before a complaint had been raised.
We read many answers that described how they discovered a problem and then reacted to it. Whilst this demonstrated good problem solving skills and an ability to be thoughtful and responsive – it didn’t answer the question fully.
Q3. If you could start a conversation with a subject matter expert on something you’re curious about, what would it be? Tell us why it interests you and what makes you want to find out more? It could be anything from a hot topic in the news, to a popular trend on social media.
The answers to this question were really impressive and fascinating to read. This question was an opportunity to demonstrate your curiosity – which to us means that you’re always looking outward and are keen to learn.
Good answers talked about a topic that they were interested in and showed an engagement with the world around them. Great answers did this and more. They also showed in their answer that enjoyed exploring and researching ideas and concepts by looking at the topic from different angles and perspectives, and made interesting links and connections to trends or particular thought leaders who they’d be curious to speak to.
These were the answers that really captured our imagination, and made us just as curious about the topic too.