5

I'm currently a first year masters student in physics (2 years for the degree) interested in IT, and a strange chain of events led me to being invited to some IT job fair interviews in a couple of days. While I did get my certs 2 years back, I haven't really reviewed what I know since then because I was busy studying physics, meaning I'll likely be asked questions I have no idea how to answer. I'm also going to finish at least the masters degree before switching to IT (which I might). These are my first interviews ever. Should I attend these interviews ? ( I do have 2 days of possible cramming)

I'm also interested in some sort of internship over this summer. Should I just attend and ask?

7

Yes. Go.

An internship would be huge in getting a more serious job later. Especially if it's in the field you want to be doing and very especially for Physics.

If someone tells me they're a Physics major that doesn't tell me if they're trying to be an Electrical Engineer, or a Software Engineer, or a Big Data guy, or what... so if this is the "hand them your resume" stage then you'll want to stress on your resume what projects and technologies you've been exposed to (ideally in bold to draw attention to them).

If you're past the "hand them your resume" stage and this is actual full interviewing then great, you already have their attention. That right there is HARD to do at a job fair. When I'm on the line I'll deal with 50 people in a few hours. Most will be unsuitable for whatever reason.

You have enough strikes against you as a Physics student trying to get into IT that you shouldn't make it much worse by not trying. Worst thing that happens at this point is "nothing".

These are my first interviews ever.

That right there is why you should do it. You badly need the practice.

I'm also interested in some sort of internship over this summer.

This summer? I suspect "this summer" is too late, I hope you meant "summer 2020".

1

I have been invited to an interview even though I'm not in search of a job. Should I attend?

If you are not looking for a job, attending and/or accepting an invitation to a job interview would not be recommended.

First because you will be doing something without a true goal in mind, and you will get nothing from it even if they offered you the job (besides wasting time you could use elsewhere, or some brief interview experience).

This could also be considered unprofessional, as you are going to effectively waste this people's time by going to an interview you don't intend in taking an offer.

I'm also interested in some sort of internship over this summer. Should I just attend and ask?

If you are not interested in a job, but are interested in doing a summer internship by all means do ask... but do it now, via any contact they gave you (email, etc.). Going to a job interview, saying you are not interested, and then asking if they have internships open would be out of place.

It would be better if you asked beforehand if they have any internship available, do the proper follow up, and then perhaps land an interview and attend.

1

If you literally have no intention or capability to accept a job offer, it would be a waste of everyone's time to attend a typical, formal interview. And, if you're completely unprepared for answering questions, it may not even be very good "practice" since you and the interviewer will likely be thrown off by your lack of substantial answers.

On the other hand, you mentioned that these interviews were for job fairs - job fairs are typically a broader, less targeted process where employers are looking to build a portfolio of possible candidates as much as they are looking to fill a single, specific position. Job fairs are also intended for people who have an interest in a field, but no experience in it, to get exposure to employers as a way to learn about the industry.

Job fairs are very good for interview "practice" and making industry contacts - essentially the exact scenario you're in. So, it may make sense to attend the job fair and take the interviews, and during the process, explain your situation and your interest in the industry the employer represents.

1

Let the recruiter know that you are only interested in roles that start after you finish your degree or summer internships. The company may be willing to interview you now for a future position, interview you for an internship, or will get back in touch closer to a potential start date. Regardless, being honest about your interests and timeline allows to recruiters to match you to appropriate roles.

If you don't attend the interviews, keep in touch with the recruiter. Even if the same role isn't available, you will be at the top of their list for other similar opportunities after your degree.

If you do take the interviews, you probably are best not cramming and being transparent about your lack of recent experience. Interviewers will be more interested in assessing your problem-solving and interpersonal skills over technical knowledge which can be quickly learned.

Don't take interviews for jobs that you are not seriously considering. Being honest about your interest and timeline is always best - taking interviews on false pretenses only creates opportunities for a bad outcome.

0

Having regard for everyone's time

You are planning to attend a job fair with no intention to get a full time job. While it's also understandable that you:

  • Do not wish to miss on the opportunity of gaining some first hand experience.

  • Looking for networking opportunities.

  • Just testing the waters as to where you stand when interviewing for IT roles.

  • Looking for internship opportunities.

I think there's nothing wrong in experiencing things out. However, you should have a clear purpose as to what is it that you want as well as don't want. This will save both your and other's time. Also there won't be any unrealistic expectations.

I'd advise not to spend the next 2 days cramming as that may end up stressing you out. Also, you aren't actually looking for job. So, take it easy and go unprepared (as far as technical preparations are concerned). This way, even if you end up giving an interview, you'll get to know about your real standing.

Also, IT is a pretty broad domain. You haven't mentioned any area of specialization. Thus, appearing for an interview without knowing what specialization a particular company is looking for may end up wasting both your and recruiter's time. There will be mismatch in the expectations.

It would be a good idea to be clear about intentions as you described in the question:

  • Have IT certificates from the past.

  • No intention of joining now (till you have completed your master's in Physics).

  • Will be likely available for job down the line.

  • Looking for internship opportunities.

  • Looking for networking opportunities.

Having clearly laid out goals like this saves time, hassle and inconveniences for both the parties.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.