Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at American Express
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Master's/MBA Human Resources Summer Analyst Interview
I applied online. The process took 2 weeks – interviewed at American Express in October 2010.
I applied cold to the American Express summer HR analyst program, and was granted a first round phone interview. The first phone interview was easy, basically is your resume impressive enough to move you along. The gentleman was very friendly, and understood when I had phone problems. It took about 30 minutes.
The second interview was done by someone closer to the program, one who had gone through it. This phone interview was much more "old school." They asked for the three strengths and weaknesses, where you wanted to be in 5 years, greatest accomplishment, etc. Again, the woman was very courteous. I found out that day that I had been invited to the first in person interview, and that if I made it through that one there was one more. Later that week I was sent a small case study to analyze and prepare a 1-2 slide PowerPoint to present.
The meeting was scheduled very early in the morning. I arrived and was sent up. I was met by the woman who had coordinated the interview, and she informed me one of the scheduled interviewers was unable to attend, and she would be filling in. I was led to a nice, corner conference room with a round table. I didn't see a computer or projector so I asked where they were. She looked puzzled and said there weren't either, and asked me if I had brought my laptop, which I had. It was at this point I started to get a sinking feeling.
The woman was joined by a man on the selection committee, and the interview began. I could tell from the start that he might not have been as excited to be there as I was. I was asked several background related questions, then I delivered my 10 minute presentation via my tiny laptop screen. The woman was engaging and positive throughout the presentation. I was then asked several behavioral questions: "How do you handle conflicting priorities?", "Tell me about a time you received constructive criticism which shocked you", "Tell me about a time you overcame stiff odds."
Then it was over, maybe? The woman and I stood, shook hands, thanked each other, and she walked out, closing the door behind her. Then I realized the awkwardness of the situation. I was in the room with the gentleman, and he was sitting at the conference table staring at his notes. I was standing in front of him, unsure if I should leave, or if he had something else. He peered over his glasses at me eventually, and asked me if I had any questions (we had already done the Q&A), so I asked about his time abroad. He told me, and asked again, more insistently if I had any questions. I got the hint. I was to be "shown out" in a sense. I thanked the gentleman, packed my things, opened the door to the conference room and left. The woman from earlier was talking with a colleague about 15 yards away from the conference room when I walked out. She looked over, startled that I had left the conference room unaccompanied, and rushed over to offer me an escort to the elevator. I accepted, and we parted ways afterwards.