My First Interview

Marcel Chen first interview mentoring

In the past, I did not know what was mentor or mentorship. That concept seemed strange to me, I did not think I need a mentor. Until one day, I was looking for an internship to get some experience outside university. Unfortunately, all the internship I applied rejected me, I did not even get to the interview round. I realized I needed a professional CV and cover letter and learned some skills to enhance my personal brand.

Online courses or books are too general, I wanted something specific and straight forward. All of the sudden, I found out that I just need a person who had experience about this. I shared my feeling to my first English teacher in Australia, she told me I need a mentor. She explained, mentor, in general, is a person who had more experience than you in an area and willing to share, help you with sincere and trust. Having a good mentor is invaluable for anyone who is working to achieve a goal. Mentors will help mentee to develop and progress in profession.

I was over the moon when listening to her advice. I asked her what should I do to find a mentor. She told me: “ It is not that hard, first, I will help you figure out what is wrong with your CV and cover letter.” After that day, I applied another internship, surprisingly, the company accepted my documents and planned an interview date for me. I understood, my English teacher is also my mentor.

That day, the day when I received the message about the interview, I was surprised with a bit nervous. I haven’t had any experience with face to face interview abroad. In that time, all the interview scenes in my mind is from the Hollywood movies, especially they told me interview period is around 45 minutes.

“I thought there would be three interviewers sit in the long table and I will be three meters in front them. The atmosphere will be serious and stressful, interviewers will ask me to introduce myself, after that give me a case, ask me to analyze it.”

However, it was totally different from what I thought. When I arrived United Way WA interview destination, the thing appeared in my eyes was a discussion room with two chairs and one sofa, no three interviewers, no long table and no case study, but still 45 minutes. During the interview, I don’t feel the 45 minutes is that scary and long as my imagination, most of time is that interviewer try to understand me, try to find my potential ability.

In the interview, firstly, interviewer talked about general information such as United Way WA overview, history and strategies. Secondly, they started to ask me questions, I realized every question, have the logical reason behind, and in order. The logical questions let whole interview time don’t have much stress and nervous. The interview remained profession for whole period. In particular, the interviewer asks me three types of questions, I will split it into three types: past, present and future.


They asked me about my experience, something like any experience about volunteering, any skill experience design (photographing, filming and graphic design) and writing content. All the past part questions help the interviewer know whether I have any relevant experience and also help them to identify “what do I know “and “what can I do”.


This group of questions is about what are you studying in it and what is your thinking. For example, “what is your favorite unit?”, “what do you think of our website?”, “what attracted you to apply for this role?” and organization target audience on Facebook etc. In the present part questions, the interviewer wants to know about my thinking and skills, or whether I suit the company’s culture or not.


In this part, most of the questions are related to the job, like “how do you feel about work independent?”, “work under the pressure” and “what hoping to get out of this internship?”. In this part, through the questions, they also let me know the challenge of the job, to see I really understand my role and ready to work under pressure or not.

Marcel Chen with Tim Allen first interview mentor
Mentor and mentee

All above, is my experience of the first interview, for my understanding, all the questions are relevant to “How well do you really understand yourself”. Besides, the interview questions are not much, but very organized and let interviewer have a general look about me in 45 minutes. This is a wonderful experience for me, and now, I got the internship, I work with a lot of people who had more experience than me, they are also willing to lead me to have to right mindset. They are my mentors.

Without a mentor, people might be lost track in life or just want to stay in the same position, do not want to improve or get higher job prospect. In different period, I will need different mentor, and each mentor will help to fulfil an aspect of life, help to improve or get progress on profession.

United Way WA currently has several mentoring opportunities which are designed to create amazing, life-changing opportunities for both the mentors and mentees involved.

Find out more about our volunteer mentoring opportunities and how you can make a real difference here.



Marcel Chen

Marcel is an ambitious marketing high-flyer and current intern on the United Way WA team.

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