Interviewing for My Next Internship

by Matthew
Originally posted April 12, 2010

So . . . the topic is field (internship) interviews. At this point, I have only been to one, but have gotten quite a bit of feedback regarding other students’ experience. Each student at the Field Marketplace is allowed to sign up for three field interviews. I spent a little too much time wandering around on marketplace day and ended up getting less than ideal interview slots with my agencies of choice. I would have preferred having all of my interviews at the end of April or the early part of May once school was done. Oh well.

My first interview was at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. M.D. Anderson can be a somewhat intimidating interview. This is one of the few Field III & IV internship sites that provide a substantial stipend. Thus, there was quite a bit of competition for these internships. Both the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center had over 40 students come to their information sessions prior to the Field Marketplace at the end of March. It was clear from the information session that M.D. Anderson is an extremely professional work environment with very high expectations for its interns. I think this interview has generated more stress than any of the others.

Any trip to the medical center in Houston is something of a white-knuckled affair. The whole area is ridiculously congested anytime of the day one travels there. Why am I thinking I want to commute here three days per week? The interview itself was much more relaxed and congenial than I thought it would be. I was interviewed by three social workers and the executive assistant for the department. The interview was methodical and the questions were challenging. It was evident that they were interested in getting a sense of who I am, how I think, my past experience, and what drives me to want an internship at M.D. Anderson. I got tripped up once during the interview when we started discussing treatment modalities. What is funny is that I knew that this question would be asked because they mentioned it at the information session held several weeks before. I’ve had significant training in several different treatment modalities, but I completely blanked when they asked me about it. When I remembered how to answer, I got flustered that I had blanked etc., etc., etc. Actually, I am sure the whole episode only lasted 30 seconds but it certainly seemed a lot longer to me. My overall impression is that everything went well, but I will not find out until the beginning of June! Bummer.

I have three more interviews scheduled over the course of the next few weeks. I am scheduled to go to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center tomorrow but have already heard from a number of classmates that the folks over there are quite relaxed and that the experience was positive for everyone thus far. I’m also interviewing at the Baylor Psychiatric Center next week and am looking forward to it. All of the places I chose are very competitive, so I am a little concerned that I might not get accepted by any of the places I want to intern at. Only time will tell. I have yet to hear any real horror stories regarding an actual interview and that is great news. Ultimately, while aspects of the experience have been stressful and nerve-racking, the whole process has been well managed by the GCSW and I do not feel as though I am flying blind. Interviewing for an internship is no different than interviewing for a job. It’s important to dress appropriately and do your research before you walk into the room; otherwise, you might need therapy before you’re done!


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