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I just had an interview for an internship the other day and I felt that the interviewer was a little rude and did not appreciate the skills that I possessed.

During the interview, he asked me to explain the projects I had done and my past internship experience. So after I was done explaining, he just said "We do not need those skills here" and I was a little shocked because in the application it said that they wanted someone that has experience with these skills.

After that, I asked him about what are the tasks for this internship and he explained them to me. He asked me what are my thoughts on this and I told him what techniques I would use to complete the tasks but the weird thing is that he did not acknowledge what I proposed, he basically just ignored it. He just ended the call by indirectly saying "Ok we are done here". Eventually, I got the offer and I accepted it but I will be directly under this interviewer.

Looking back, I don't know if I made the right choice because I feel that this interviewer might not like me. I feel that he was just trying to get this internship thing done and over with. I don't know what to do. Should I decline the offer after accepting it?

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    HR people often write job descriptions (or cut and paste old job descriptions) when they have no idea what the job entails. Personally, I would still go to the job. Worst case scenario, you can always quit on your first day (and leave that internship off your resume). In the meantime, don't stop interviewing for other employers, in case that one goes badly. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 14 '19 at 21:29
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    It doesn't matter what he thinks of you, this is your opportunity to get real world experience in a workplace. It's not just about using and refining your technical skills but also learning how to deal with people (who may not like you) in the workplace. – sf02 Nov 14 '19 at 21:43
  • Were you interviewed by a manager? A senior member of the team? Some HR drone? I've had interviews in which the manager was super nice and enthusiastic about my experience, while a team member literally sat there looking daggers at me, with his arms crossed the whole time (because he was feeling threatened). But his opinion did not matter much, because the manager liked me. – AndreiROM Nov 15 '19 at 14:20
  • He was the manager of the team. So that's what worries me. Regardless, I'll still give it a try. – Hal Nov 16 '19 at 7:15
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I'm going to be blunt: this is an internship that only lasts a few months; the person hiring you doesn't expect you to accomplish anything important, doesn't care about your skills (apart from being able to perform the task you're being hired to work on) and probably wants as little interaction with you as possible.

That might sound really mean. But you have to understand what this dynamic looks like from the rest of the group. You're coming in, and we know you're only going to be here for 10 weeks. That's not enough time to train you in enough of the company's internals for you to be solving any critical problems. And, well, why would we want you to waste a significant portion of your time learning those internals? That knowledge is leaving the company in 10 weeks and becomes worthless. Likewise, why would we want to have a regular employee spend their time up-skilling you? That's not only cost even more salary, but we'd also be losing the regular employee's productivity during the time they train you.

Instead, it's very important to understand why you're there - because that understanding will make a world of difference on whether you're successful during your internship. You're there to do low-oversight/low-training work so that the regular employees can focus on the important stuff. You're there to 'free up' people.

If you want to have a good internship? Then you should work as hard as you can to maximize one specific ratio: Value delivered to the company divided by Time spent supervising/assisting/training you. (By the way, this ratio is a good thing to at least be mindful of when you're a Junior as well - sometimes 'bringing the new guy up to speed' poses a pretty bad efficiency hit and trying to mitigate that a bit can be very appreciated; one of the reasons I was loved starting out fresh from college is because I could be given a relatively unimportant project, run with it without a whole lot of supervision, and deliver a relatively decent end product.)

Now, if you reread what the manager is saying, it might make a bit more sense. Granted, it's still got a bit of a rude tenor to it, but it starts to seem a bit less random (they don't care about your prior skills if those skills won't help you accomplish the specific tasks they have for you; they probably don't care all that much what specific methodologies you use to accomplish your tasks as long as they're done correctly; they don't want to spend a large amount of time in interaction with you, etc.) This is why I don't think you should quit the internship - while some places might have a softer edge to them, ultimately you're just there to free up the full-timers to focus on more important things.

Finally, some bits of advice during the internship:

  • Be as diligent as possible. Aim for 0 mistakes. Even if it means taking longer to accomplish your tasks - because the less oversight/correction needed from the regular employees, the more you're helping the team focus on their regular tasks.
  • Try to get as concrete of a picture on what you're doing up-front. And after you figure out how you're going to do something, jot off an email to your supervisor along the lines of "I think I'm going to X and Y in order to get Z, and then I'll put it all together with W." This gives your supervisor a quick way of correcting any bad path you might find yourself going down.
  • Try to deliver preliminary/mock results as quickly as possible - aka, Fail Quickly. "I've made a mockup of M and N - does it look good? Should I flesh it out, or does it need to be tweaked?"
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    Excellent answer! – Stephan Branczyk Nov 14 '19 at 23:05
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    I feel like this answer discourages juniors from asking questions of (i.e. learning from) their colleagues. A junior who is afraid to ask questions is going to perform a lot worse (and cost their senior colleagues a lot more time from in the long run) than a junior who isn't afraid to ask for support when they need it. – Player One Nov 14 '19 at 23:49
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    @PlayerOne - Whoa, there's a huge difference between Juniors and Interns. Juniors are likely going to be at the company at least for a while - and the company wants to get them up to speed on the internals/methodologies/etc because they hope to get years of productivity out of them - Juniors should absolutely try to learn/upskill as much as possible and its generally in the best interest of the company/seniors to help out on that front. Interns, however, are only going to be there for 10 weeks. If I gave the impression that this is targeted at Juniors, let me know how I can edit. – Kevin Nov 15 '19 at 0:47
  • Yes I agree that they're different roles with different expectations that need to be approached differently. The bit that strikes me as implying that they're similar is "this ratio is a good thing to keep in mind when you're a Junior as well". While I don't necessarily disagree that it's a good thing to be aware of, I think it should be right at the bottom of the things a junior considers when they need time from their more senior colleagues. – Player One Nov 15 '19 at 1:47
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    "I'm going to be blunt: this is an internship that only lasts a few months; the person hiring you doesn't expect you to accomplish anything important, doesn't care about your skills (apart from being able to perform the task you're being hired to work on) and probably wants as little interaction with you as possible." Terrible response. You're not being blunt; you're being ignorant. Speaking as an intern who worked for 6 months during school, I have to say this is the exact opposite of what a company (and intern) should be looking for. If there's no engagement, there's no value. – AleksandrH Jan 21 at 15:18
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Speaking from experience having interviewed with many companies locally for internships, and having landed a 6-month internship in the Summer of 2019, I need to stress that first impressions matter a LOT, not only from the company's perspective but also from yours.

You will know when you find an opportunity that's worth pursuing. If they don't seem interested in you now or dismiss your experience, and contradict the job posting, by saying things like "We do not need those skills here," then you're definitely better off looking elsewhere.

Ok we are done here

Translation: I'm not interested in pursuing this further. Get lost.

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Is it paid? If it's an unpaid internship under a dick supervisor I personally wouldnt accept. Been there, done that. Not worth your self-respect.

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