Interview with Elif Çalışkan: Self-development of the Psychology Student

By Millena Kapamann

An internship is a learning experience for many undergraduate students. Depending on your position, you will always have extra knowledge so it will be an opportunity for self-development. Learn more about our former Intern Elif Çalışkan through this interview!

1- Tell us more about yourself and your background, please?

I am a third-year undergraduate Psychology student and really love studying Psychology since it provides me with an overview of understanding human behavior and mental processes. Also, I am currently a Research Trainee at a TUBİTAK funded research project. Hopefully, I will be getting a scholarship in the project from March 2021. My current task is a transcription of audio recordings of interviews for the qualitative analysis. Moreover, I am a Volunteer Research Assistant at the CoronaNet Research Project. I joined the project at the beginning of June 2020. I am responsible for coding Ireland’s COVID-19 policies as well as supporting and mentoring Research Assistants particularly those who are assigned to countries in the Central Africa region.

2- What was your plan when you decided to join LSBC?

Actually, I was looking for an Erasmus internship. Then, I had a look at the Erasmusintern platform and saw LSBC’s job advertisement. After that, I googled it and realized that many Psychology students who became an intern at LSBC from all over the world. Then, I thought I should join as well! Because my plan is to improve myself in the different fields of Psychology and explore my actual interest. Also, I was curious about the role of the Human Resources department as well as looking for a new challenge in an international remote environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“LSBC is such an international environment, with many people from different backgrounds, so the best part was meeting different people with diverse backgrounds and try to understand their personalities.”

Elif Çalışkan

3- What were your principal roles at LSBC? Are there any deviations from your main tasks at LSBC?

My role was at LSBC was very broad. First of all, I started as a Content Writer until I gain theoretical knowledge about HR practices. Then, I became an HR intern, but since I enjoy conducting research, I was also making Psychology literature reviews and generating content so I generated content for about 4 months and in total, I worked for 6 months at LSBC.

As an HR intern, I was responsible for scanning candidates’ CVs, scheduling and conducting interviews, taking care of onboarding and offboarding processes, handling some paperwork as well as mentoring my colleague’s well-being. As a researcher and content writer, I have created the category of psychology on the LSBC website, made literature reviews about Psychology research topics such as personality traits or cognitive biases.

4- Which principal challenges did you face and, do you have any advice to surpass them?

Well, before joining the LSBC, I did not have any experience in the Human Resources department. In reality, this experience was my first professional experience. When I was conducting the interviews, I saw that each candidate has a different attitude and drive while applying for a specific position at LSBC. So, it was also an opportunity to experience some humanistic challenges: Understanding different motivations while applying to a specific position.

“It was so nice to see different personality traits!”

Elif Çalışkan

Another challenge was also to meet different people, adapting to them, and getting to know each of them. We were all working together as interns at LSBC and each intern had different motivations to stay engaged and sometimes it is worth giving them a chance and learning more from them.

5- What are the required skills to succeed as an HR Intern?

I can say that I was inclined to multi-tasking duties, so my advice is definitely to be open to being part of multi-tasking activities in various departments since in this way HRs can observe each department closely. I believe being involved will provide to discover the strengths and weaknesses of each department. Also, HR Interns should feel free to generate creative ideas and express themselves.

6- HR is about human relations and communications. How to manage such tasks in a remote working position?

From a psychological perspective, of course, face-to-face interaction is more precious than online interaction since we can observe people’s actions physically. In the real-life, despite sometimes people don’t talk their postures or expressions can talk and we gain an overview about them but we do not have so much chance to get to know a person in a remote working position.

Since the pandemic, everything has become remote. I think some personality traits are more likely to have a successful adaptation regarding remote working than others. I also successfully switched to remote working as well as online education.

“The key here is to being involved in communication via chat, online meetings, seminars, or other activities.”

Elif Çalışkan

7- How would you describe your experience, and what have you learned?

My general experience was really great. LSBC provided me a great opportunity to learn Human Resources department, as well as gave me a great perspective to discover myself in an international environment. I was super goal-oriented and organized during my internship. On the other hand, I learned to collaborate with many great people from all over the world. I involved in the decision-making process of various departments. I eliminated my own limits, cognitive biases and became more confident so it was really a nice experience.

“As interns, we were all from different places, backgrounds, cultures but we became cohorts in the LSBC family.”

-Elif Çalışkan

8- Would you recommend your LSBC internship-experience to your friends or community? Why?

Definitely! I have already recommended applying for LSBC to some of my friends. Also, many people from different places have reached out to me on LinkedIn to get information about my experience with LSBC. My general advice is to immediately apply, especially for the Human Resources and Research / Content Writing departments because I had a great experience in those departments.

9- Do you feel like working at LSBC influenced your current work experiences?

Currently, I am still an undergraduate student. But my role as a Research Assistant at CoronaNet is more related to gathering data regarding public health policies during COVID-19 but I also help other Research Assistants. Indeed, I wanted to be more involved in the project’s leadership tasks because of my HR experience with LSBC.

Regarding the TUBITAK project, it aims to develop a structured and effective psychotherapy program, to increase the level of adjustment and psychological well-being of women after divorce. My current task is the transcription of audio recordings of interviews for the analysis. I don’t have any authority to conduct clinical interviews as an undergraduate student since the project is run by experienced people in clinical psychology. On the other hand, I was conducting some recruitment interviews as an HR Intern at LSBC.