Wednesday, 27 January 2021

The SELA interview experience

Kacper Sikorski, Cohort 2019

One evening in May, I was working on a course-project when some of my mates messaged me, with the question of whether I made it to the second stage. I checked the email and realised I was through to the interview stage, and within the next couple of days, I had to make a favourable impression during an interview.Preparations

Prior to the interview, we were asked to prepare a two-minute-long presentation. My first thought – how to speak concisely? I tend to overtalk, so the comprehensive, brief speech was a major issue for me. Secondly, I have been wondering about the most relevant traits that make me suitable. Everybody wants to be a part of such a great organisation, so it must be something special. I had many concepts, but could not decide which one is the best. I spend time reading previous applications for internships, talking with my relatives and exchanging ideas with my friends. I found all of it quite useful. Every time while taking a shower, I was talking to myself, pretending it was a real interview. My parents were surprised when they saw the bill for the water, but sometimes sacrifice is required.

The Interview

Due to COVID-19 the interview took place using Google Meet. Unusual way, but at that time, we all had to get used to a new normality. At least I could sleep longer, because of the time difference and I did not spend too much time on selecting garments. My shorts were invisible to the camera! I entered the session five minutes before the scheduled time, revised my prepared presentation; ultimately I had managed to formulate it a night before and I was quite satisfied with it. Two members of SELA Operations Boards joined punctually and they were really kind and gentle. They asked how I was, assured me that I would not be disadvantaged by any technical issues and informed that the interview would be recorded. Subsequently, I began my presentation. After two minutes I heard an audio signal but I was not interrupted I could finish, then there was a session of questions. I was myself, felt quite confident and always had enough time for response. Afterwards, it was possible to ask about anything. I was excited and curious about what SELA actually does, so I used that opportunity. After 20 minutes the interview ended. It was a weight off my shoulders and now, there was nothing I could do except wait for a decision. It took SELA team only a week to give me feedback, nevertheless, it has been a long week. On my birthday I heard I had made it through – it was a great present!

Summary

Overall, I found the SELA interview as a positive and invaluable experience. The SELA team had to face an unforeseen situation induced by the outbreak, and they tackled it. They provided an equitable application process, during the interview they were considerate and kind despite the unfavourable circumstances. 

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