I’m a junior (about to become a senior in fall) English major at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan and if you’re interested in college vlogs and student’s life abroad, definitely go check out my YouTube channel! Speaking of that, I was planning to study in Bayreuth, Germany in my senior year for the completion of the dual-degree program before applying for the internship at Giftpack. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I couldn’t tell if the plan would be cancelled or not (it’s not cancelled!) since the German Institute hadn’t even opened visa application until June. For a person who always has a plan to follow, I had an idea, “maybe I should take a 1-year gap year from college, and go either find a job, an internship, or serve military service” This was the starting point of why I’m at Giftpack now.
I always believe that I am a person with great abilities, so there shouldn’t be too much trouble for me to get a job. But the fact is, back in May, it was the final exam month, plus the professors at English department are obsessed with all kinds of presentations, plus all the annoying trifles in life, my brain was about to explode. The only time that I had for job hunting (on LinkedIn and 104 Job Recruiting) were the breaks between classes. I didn’t know I would be the person who was losing confidence gradually through the process. I realized that it seemed almost impossible for one to get a job without experience. At some points, I couldn’t even figure out what kind of job I wanted to do. Should I go into the media industry? Or should I try marketing which I’d been interested in? The problem is, I didn’t have any experience with marketing. The word “marketing” was just an empty word for me. The only chance I had to take a glimpse at it was the course I enrolled in last semester, “Digital Marketing and Internship”. And guess what, I was assigned to the video production group. My role had almost nothing to do with the field of marketing…
On a Monday morning during my “Language Statistics” class, I was surfing the net desperately, randomly googled “Summer Internship” (forgot the exact term bc it was super random), and saw Giftpack was hiring 6-month-interns. After clicking into the website, finding there’s a role called Digital Marketing Giftern. “Why not give it a try?” I thought.
Giftpack designed its own online resume application website (except for applying for Giftern, Giftpacker is available through an online application, too!). The whole application process was very smooth. The steps were clear. No wonder Archer (the founder, aka Chief Talking Officer) often brings up how massive amount of application Giftpack is receiving every term, and how much effort it takes for us to get accepted by Giftpack. Looking back on the process of the online application, I remembered clearly there was one question for the applicants, “What makes you want to work at Giftpack?” I saw the line below saying, “We must make sure that you match our tones.”And I thought “ this is a startup company, and interns are not simply interns but “Giftern” (which I’m very proud of now), so I assumed they didn’t want a cliche answer. “ I came up with this answer soon after: Because I’m “Gifted.” I can’t prove whether this was one of the decisive factors for the HR to let me go to the next interview session. At least since then, I’ve been believing I’m a Gifted guy (lol).
Starting from online resume review in June, it took almost the entire month, including four sessions for me to complete the journey. Tbh, I’m not the first to write about the interview experience with Giftpack. Our former Digital Marketing Giftern, Jerry, one of the interviewers during the professional screening session, wrote his experience a few months ago (he also wrote another article on the duties of a Digital Marketing Marketer at Giftpack). In today’s article, I’ll still briefly mention the interview process, but more on topics that haven’t been covered by Jerry, like the questions I got from interviewers, my answers (and those I couldn’t answer), responses from interviewers, my overall thoughts over the whole interview process. For my preparation for this 1-month interview, there will be another article about it, make sure you follow me to get updated with new articles!
【Online Interview with CEO, Archer】
【Online Interview：Professional Screening Process】
【Onsite Brunch Meeting】
Now let me walk you through this amazing journey
According to the 1st admission letter sent from Giftpack’s HR, only the Top 10% of applicants can go to the next phase after applying online. It sounds pretty cruel, right? However, this can’t be more reasonable. As a CEO at a startup, Archer already has tons of things to do everyday (if you are interested in how a day in the life of a startup CEO looks like, go check out this article), not to mention spending an hour per applicant for interviews. Therefore, applicants must pass some kinds of standard or criteria so that HR doesn’t need to spend extra time eliminating applicants again.
If you’re thinking to apply for a job at Giftpack, my suggestion is: you can communicate very well in English (I guess it’s not very difficult if you’re reading this English version article lol)! The reason for this is that Giftpack recruits people with excellent thoughts from all over the world. English is the language we all share and communicate in. From the experiences of my friends from English department who had applied before, 4 of us applied and 2 got into phase 2, so the acceptance rate is about 50%, but the sample here is quite small so I can’t guarantee anything. I finished applying online on a Monday in June, and got the acceptance letter informing I’m moved on to phase 2 just the next day!
I was very impressed by the acceptance letter. Checking my phone is always the first thing I do before getting up, and that day I saw an email, with no words in it…After highlighting the whole email, I figured out the font color was set to white. This was meant to test if the applicants were careful enough or not!
In the acceptance letter for phase 2, there were some attachments about the flow of interview process, and most importantly, a link to make an appointment with Archer by Calendly. Since Archer was based in New York City, the time available was either very early or very late. For me, a night owl, of course I chose 12 a.m., about a week later from then.
On that day, the whole interview was just like chatting with Archer (although I was still quite nervous), all in English, using Zoom, 1-hour divided into 3 sections:
At the very beginning, I introduced myself for 30 secs, and Archer had follow-up questions based on my self-introduction and resume (ex: education background, interests, hobbies, etc.). Below are some of the Q&As:
Q1: “Why did you start your YouTube channel?”
A1: “As I saw YouTubers like Casey Nesitat, RayDu English, and thePierre conveying different messages to the world, I knew that even an ordinary person can bring big influences. I want to practice my belief, which is influencing this world for its good.”
Q2: “From your experience running a YouTube channel, what’s the biggest takeaway?”
A2: “You don’t know how difficult it is before start doing it.”
Archer: “(laughing) exactly.”
Q3: “How would you introduce Giftpack to your grandparents?”
A3: “Giftpack is a company that provides personalized gifting service for people who are in long-distance relationships and for creating an unforgettable experience.”
Archer: “Very short and precise.”
Me: “Yeah because I asked my friend who had an interview with you last year.”
Archer: “(laughing) very good.”
Q4: “Giftpack provides two kinds of services, B2B and B2C. What are the three major problems Giftpack is trying to solve on B2B side?
A4: “First of all, personalized gifting takes too much time… (silence) I’m sorry. I don’t know the answer.”
Archer: “That’s ok. This is a difficult one.”
Q5: “How do you see yourself in the next five years?”
A5: “I don’t have a clear direction yet. This is one of the biggest problems (also drawbacks) of English majors, which is not having a technical skill. I might be a YouTuber or a marketer; at least, I’ve been trying to plan and seek for opportunities.”
Tips for 1st section: I think having a portfolio (for me, my YT channel) is very important. Archer told me he likes my style and the way I deliver messages in my videos at the very beginning of the interview. It is equally important to do some research into the company. Just don’t be lazy. Do all the necessary work.
I was very nervous about this section since I didn’t really have any experience with marketing. Fortunately, I learned some SEO knowledge and tools while running my YouTube channel. Besides that, I also gained quite a bit of information from the classmate who went through phase 2 interview with Archer. Overall, I think I did okay. I would like to share many questions (not in the order they were asked) because I feel these are very practical questions regarding this role, and some of them are interesting. For answers, I would share those there are no correct answers, open-ended answers, or those I didn’t answer well:
Q1: “What are SEO and SEM? What’s the difference?”
Q2: “Ads will show on the top of Google SERP, how and what are the factors do Google rank the rest of the websites below?”
A2: “I once read a book saying whether a website is secure or not would affect its ranking.”
Archer: “That’s part of the answer.”
Q3: “During a week, what day and what time is the best time to send ad emails to our subscribers?”
A3: “I think if we want the subscribers to use our company’s service, the conversion rate would be highest on weekend noons because people usually don’t get up until noon on weekends. When we wake up, our brains tend not to start working logically that fast or make decisions like placing an order easily.”
Archer: “Very interesting answer.”
Q4: “From you experience using Motion and Premiere, what are their biggest drawbacks?”
A4: “Premiere and Final Cut Pro X are not compatible. Motion often crushes, and it takes much CPU for rendering.”
Tips for 2nd section: I was expecting more professional terms related to digital marketing to appear. The friend who gave me suggestion told me I must know terms like CPC and CPM. It might because that I told Archer I knew what questions I’d be getting so he changed his strategies and asked other questions instead. In general, I think the questions he asked were mostly open-ended so that I can take my advantage and get creative. I guess you can tell it’s totally fine if you can’t answer the question, and some of them took me quite a while to come up with the answer. So I think what Giftpack values at this stage is still more about personality and less about the professional knowledge. After all this is an internship, where we all grow with the company and learn!
In the last section, Archer spent about 5 mins for explaining the services that Giftpack is providing, and what are the responsibilities for a Digital Marketing Giftern at Giftpack. Lastly in the Q&A session, I asked about my concern for users’ privacy and provided my insights of potential collaboration. He answered my questions straightforwardly and told me my suggestion is worth considering. The whole interview took us 45 mins.
Tips for 3rd section: Please make sure you have some questions prepared beforehand for the company. It shows that you don’t really care about your job if you don’t have any questions for your future job in mind. Besides, it is apparent that the length of interview wouldn’t affect the result. My classmate spent more than 1 hr interviewing with Archer but didn’t go to the next phase. So if you got all the answers you want, just wrap it up and let the fate decides.
In the letter informing I’m in phase 3, there were attached files of introductions of Giftpack and the tasks for phase 3. On the next day’s morning, Giftpack sent me another email telling me the interview would be held at The Hive, Giftpack’s co-working space in Taipei. The name above says Online Interview but it turned out to be onsite instead. They proposed a time the was 1 week away from the time I got the email, and “Other” time option. In order not to cause too much trouble, I chose the time 1 week away although that was my final exam week. This decision made me suffered so much during the week. To prepare phase 3 interview, I asked alumni who had graduated from English department, classmates who worked as business development before, classmates from a program who were majoring in business administration within 1 week. The reason was that the tasks for phase 3 were:
Presentation — Campaign Design (15 mins)
Email Campaign (10 mins)
Content Writing — 1000 words about Corporate Gifting
Data Analysis & Visualization (45 mins)
Digital Marketing Knowledge Quiz
#1~3 should be prepared before the interview, and interviewees would be asked to present at the day of the interview. On the day of the phase 3 interview, there were another interviewee from SCU English department, Jerry, the former Digital Marketing Giftern, and Keira, the Content Lead at Giftpack. Since Keira is based in HK, she was on Zoom with us. It was my first time using the screen-sharing feature, plus I finished my slides at 3 a.m. that day morning, I was so nervous that I almost couldn’t follow my logic. Finally, I still managed to complete the 15 mins presentation.
Like I said, I didn’t know much about marketing. I didn’t know how should a marketing campaign look like. After the week having numerous discussion with classmates and friends, and read books from the library, I decided to advertise our company with a pre-roll video on YouTube, which looking back didn’t seem to be a very good strategy. At least my theme was “back to office after the pandemic”, suggesting it would be a good time to practice corporate gifting. It surprisingly matches the recent trend pretty well.
Interviewees were required to design an email campaign and test it before the interview. I was so confused about this task. “What’s an email campaign?” “What should I design?” “How do I test it?” Thankfully, all my questions were answered after reading tons of related books. One thing worth noting is that while I was designing the email, I went to DevTools of Giftpack’s website to check CSS code for brand’s colors and fonts. This inspiration came from the winter 2 years ago when I stayed at my dorm by myself taking HTML and CSS free online courses provided by Codecademy. At that moment I was thinking, “so this is the feeling of connecting the dots!”
A 1000-word article is actually a piece of cake for an English major junior student. This was the easiest task for me and the one that went most smoothly. The article I wrote introduces the idea of corporate gifting, why it’s important and how companies can find the right gifts. If you’re interested, it’s already published on Giftpack’s Medium page, feel free to check it out! Since I wasn’t an expert on this topic, my strategy was to have an outline first, read others’ articles, check the data and information cited in the articles, find the ones I can use, and finish my article with supporting data. That’s to say, it is also important to really look into what others are writing before writing your own blogs posts.
This was the task I worried about the most. Apart from the fact that I was taking Statistics for Language course and had learned some basic knowledge about statistics and SPSS, the number of data I had run was 60 at most. Having none experience with Big Data before, I needed to deal with millions of data for the interview. We had all the tweets from the end of March to the middle of April, 2020, and we were asked to analyze: most frequently used hashtags, most popular keywords, the relationship between most popular retweets and other data.
Imagine you are the marketing lead of a clothing shop located in New York. Since the mid-March of 2020, the New York state started the shelter-in-home order which shut down all the business activities and stores except for essential businesses. As the marketing lead of a clothing shop, how will you utilize the tweets relevant to COVID-19 to strategize your marketing strategies during this time?
According to your analysis, please generate recommendations and insights for your marketing strategies during shelt-at-home order in New York.
Can you imagine? During the 45 minutes session, I did almost nothing. I didn’t know how to use Kaggle (I even just applied for an account at the moment). I tried to download the whole file and my computer was about to get overheated. So I gave up on analyzing the data, and focused on “if I knew how to deal with the data, what would I do?” When I was presenting, I admitted I didn’t know how to use Kaggle at first and illustrated on my answers if I knew, my answers were:
First of all, excluding all the other country except for the US (country code: PR and US). It would be better if there’s a way to specify the tweets from New Your. While the contributor only provides us with country code, I don’t think if I can specify a city.
When I found out that the top ten favorite retweets, I’ll try to discover the relationships between popular retweets and keywords, to see if they correspond to the most used hashtags and most popular keywords.
If they are positively correlated, as a clothing shop, I’ll try to use these hashtags and keywords in my business’s tweets, and when our customers order from our store, I’ll have stickers of the hashtags on our package. Then customers might take photos and post on twitter so we can build our brand awareness even during this difficult time.
These two parts are relatively easy to prepare. Go online and read more blogs. Think about questions you have for the company. Ask about your future roles. If you’re reading this article all the way down here, I believe you’re quite serious about this. I’ll leave the work for you to figure out by yourselves!
Phase 3 interview is the most crucial point I believe. You can tell, from my experience, that you don’t need to be perfect while presenting. What matters the most is to try your best first. I didn’t even do any analysis in the data analysis section, but that was okay as long as I tried my best to answer the core question. After all, if you know how to analyze the data but forget to have a marketing strategy with the analysis, then all the work would become a waste of time. So don’t be timid even if you don’t know how to use the tool, focus on the right thing!
I was feeling the interview was only for fun after the end of the data analysis session. I didn’t expect I would get the email telling me I’m in the final phase three days later! From the email, I saw the rejection rate is about 20%, may differ according to roles since the article I read was saying the rejection rate for Fronted Engineer is only 1%……You can’t really prepare anything for this phase because interviewers didn’t prepare their questions, either. There were about 30 people in the Zoom meeting room that day. It should be an onsite brunch meeting if it was not for the pandemic. The whole interview was about 3-hours long and had two sections: Group and 1-on-1.
I was paired up with 4 other candidates, and each round we met 2~3 current team members at Giftpack. We introduced ourselves at the first few minutes but then the conversation turned dull so the interviewers asked more interesting questions such as “What animal do you want to be in the next life?” “Share an embarrassing story with us.” “What’s your biggest accomplishment so far?” While we were sharing our stories and thoughts, I was persuaded to play the guitar and sing a song. The questions were very casual. Be yourself is the only thing you can do.
After a 5 mins break, we started 1-on-1 interview. 1-on-1 interview at Giftpack is not you and the interviewer, but you and another candidate, plus a Giftpack member observing you two, very unique style, isn’t it? I think this part is about how you start a conversation with a stranger, how to be interested in others, how to get others interested in you. 5 mins for each round is quite short, to be honest. I was having a good talk with everyone I met so the time passed fast.
4 days later, I’m officially a member at Giftpack!
So this is the end of the detailed sharing of my Digital Marketing Giftern interview journey with Giftpack. Within a month, I kept challenging myself, identifying what’s lacking and studying hard for improvement. I never knew an interview for an internship would be this challenging and enjoyable simultaneously. I just have to admit Archer and Operation team at Giftpack really did a good job on the recruiting process. Although many onsite campaigns were changed to online, the process still went very well with high efficiency. Archer once wrote an article about the development of recruiting process at Giftpack. It might be because the company isn’t very large yet, they are very careful about recruiting. To follow up on the internship life at Giftpack, stay tuned!