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How to Ace Your AIESEC Interview: Global Volunteer

Making a good first impression to stand out from the crowd in an interview can be one of the trickiest (yet highly valuable) skills to learn. Just like any job interview, an AIESEC exchange interview can be a little daunting without having done some preparation. Here you will find some tried and tested tips for sitting an interview for a Global Volunteering project.

1. Assess Yourself 

Try to create a list of at least three reasons why you want to go on exchange and write them down. Knowing your personal motivations will help you outline what you want to get out of your experience and will usually be asked by your interviewer. If you’re uncertain of what you want from it right now, write down your most immediate thoughts. As you continue to reflect and ruminate, you may always go back to add revisions. Some guiding questions for your reflection:

•  What are my own strengths and weaknesses?
•  What leadership qualities do I need to develop? (see image)
•  Do I have any specific experiences in conflict management, working with others, or using my skills? In retrospect, what could I have done to improve the outcomes? 

AIESEC Leadership Qualities
These are the defining qualities that AIESEC aims to develop in our volunteers and interns through overseas exchange program placements.

2. Do Your Research on the Project and Country

Like you would in a job interview, scope out your project details on the opportunity page or request more information from the host entity or through your exchange manager. Important things you should check are:

•  Your general roles and responsibilities
•  Approximate weekly living costs
•  Whether meals and accommodation are covered in the project
•  How you will be looked after e.g. local buddy, arrival orientation (Incoming Preparation Seminar)
•  Whether you require a visa (visit smartraveller.gov.au for Australian passport holders)
•  Airport pickup logisticsIf you are unsure, make a note and be sure to ask for clarification later during your interview when asked if you have any questions.

Tip: be sure to ask about the other volunteers who may be participating in the same project as you, and what the accomodation arrangements will be like!

Find some information on the country you plan to go to, and make note of what interests you (e.g. cuisine, current affairs, culture). To gain a better sense of the context of the project’s relevance in your host country, search the topics associated with the Sustainable Development Goal that the project is centred around. It will help you gain a broader sense of the issue and will show your interviewers that you have some knowledge why the project matters.

3. During the Interview

On the day of your interview, make sure you have confirmed your interview with your interviewer and try to find a quiet location with a good internet connection. If you are unsure what to wear, smart casual is always the safe option. Now you’re sitting comfortable and ready to go, try to keep these things in mind:

•  Think of your interviewer as your good friend – not only will you feel more at ease, but if you are successful, you will get a chance to meet up whilst overseas!
•  Take a moment to think about the question asked and to form your response. Make sure to answer the question asked.
•  You will have an opportunity to ask questions. Now is a good time to clarify things, and to show your enthusiasm for the project and to be volunteering overseas.

All the best for your interview!

Daniel Chong

When he's not cracking dad jokes, Daniel is usually digging around for interesting and useful bits of knowledge. He's currently in his honours year doing medical research at the University of Sydney. His favourite medicine is strolling through a museum or gallery or just staying snug at home with a good TV series.