Ace that interview, score that new job

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Interviewing 101

Yes, its true there is no easy way to prepare for a perfect interview.  We agree they can be painfully awkward and downright intimidating, but we are here to tell you that a little research and confidence will be the key to survival. 
And let’s get real.
You are an engineer; you are on the verge of solving the human race’s most complex problems.  A puny interview?  Psssshhh, it’s nothing!
Take it from someone who knows, NIU-CEET mechanical engineering student Jonas Archil.  Archil sat down with us to do a mock interview about his summer internship at Borgwarner Dixon.  Check out some of his responses to these typical interview questions and learn about his experience with Borgwarner Dixon.
What are you studying and why?
“Mechanical Engineering.  I’ve been fascinated with cars ever since I was a little boy, I loved playing with Hot Wheelz!  My first dream was to be a Technician, and as I approached my High School career, I began talking to mechanical engineering mentors and they told me that they didn’t want me stopping at a technician.  They told me to go into the mechanical engineering field because I could go anywhere I want with the degree.  I got a job at a dealership as a porter, I got to see all the troubleshooting and work that goes into cars and it became a hobby of mine.  After that, I started researching different types of engineering.  I set on mechanical engineering because of my love for cars and I began looking at Northern Illinois University’s engineering program.”
Why did you apply for an internship at Borgwarner?
“Because they deal with parts for cars! I thought this global company would be a great leeway to start working for a company that works so closely with car emissions.   This Dixon plant in particular I liked because of the focus on emissions while some of the other plants around the area had other focuses.”
What are your goals for the next 3-5 years?
“Graduate in the spring!  I want to stay in the Chicagoland area and work for a company in the automotive industry.  As this internship introduced me to a Supplier Quality position, I want to keep applying for this specific job after graduation.”
The dreaded question…What are your strengths and weaknesses?
“I’m very goal oriented! Always making sure what needs to be done, gets done. My weakness would be my shyness.  I do like to be a leader at times but my shyness does take over at times when I’m trying to observe and take in the information around me.”
Now for some questions about his experience at Borgwarner.
What did you do during your internship?
“My responsibilities were to learn the company processes.  They gave me a supplier quality manual that I had to do online as training.  I then had to do AD processes which is if a product shipment had a problem or defect, it was corrected.   I was directed to look at the history of AD processes, research them and look at the supplier and the engineers that were in charge and see if the problem arose from them. If the problem reoccurred, I would examine the supplier and make sure they are working to fix the problem. I also went on supplier visits (Indiana, Wisconsin and Southern Illinois) to view their processes and examine how they were handling our parts.  I’m thankful I got to do so much in the company!”
What’s next in terms of employment with Borgwarner?
“I’m still in contact with HR and working for them over winter break as well as part time in the spring!  I really like what the company stands for.”
Senior Design Project?
“We’re going to take the idea of a lazy susan with a counter and design an Automated Storage Unit.  It will raise the counter to a specific location that was keyed in by the user; this will cater to senior citizens or handicapped people.  We are also targeting markets like shops, tool storages, businesses, homes and hospitals. “
What would be your best advice for getting your dream internship to your fellow classmates?
“Talk to your career service counselor and be persistent! It took me 3 years to find the Borgwarner internship, so you have to be persistent and never give up!  Using the NIU-CEET Internship Fair is not the only tool we have, there is Huskies Get Hired, the NIU Internship Fair and of course networking.” 
Here are a few more tips to consider when interviewing:
  • Don’t drink coffee.  You don’t need any more nerves than you already do. 
  • Be prepared.  Do your research on the company and impress them with your background knowledge on the company.
  • Complete the mirror test. Check yourself out in the mirror! Look good, feel good.
  • When all else fails, ask some questions at the end of the interview. Make sure that final handshake is strong and confident even if you thought the interview was a bust.
  • Follow up.  Never a bad idea to shoot them an email after the interview expressing your gratitude and get those next step questions answered. 

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