Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The single most important minute of the internship

First impressions matter. In fact, my interviewers at JUMP Investors agreed that they had a good idea of whether or not they would continue with a candidate based on the first minute of the interview. This may seem rash or unfair to those eager candidates touting their perfect resume, or an interviewee who has perfected their final questions, but there are a few tactics candidates can work on to make sure these first few minutes are optimal. Randall Kaplan, Co-Founder of Akamai Technologies and Founder of Venture Capital firm JUMP Investors, engrains the value of NEVER EVER being late. He constantly tells the story of an intern he had in 2016 that commuted from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles every day and was never late, even through LA traffic. This intern even took a practice run the day before his first workday to confirm the Google Maps ETA. First impressions matter and a good way of ruining the first impression is to arrive late. In addition, preparation is the key to success. “Randy” has taught us that for every 20 minutes worth of expected reading material about an interviewer or a company, we should expect to put in 2 hours of due diligence. This not only shows the interviewer our preparedness and work ethic, but it is what the 90% would not do, which gives us an opportunity to stand out in an environment where standing out is the most beneficial. Lastly, Kevin Vo, Vice President of JUMP Investors, preaches being dressed for the part as being incredibly crucial. Even though it may seem elementary, the correct and appropriate outfit can make or break a first impression. Style can be drastically different depending on the job, whether one is interviewing for a job in banking, at a startup, or in consulting. These three practices of arriving on time, preparation, and dressing correctly are the three requirements for kicking off an interview on the right foot.