Whether it’s your first internship or dream internship that’ll launch your career, there’s no reason to enter the room unprepared. With high-tech interview preparation platforms and information-packed resources like this article, the opportunities to strengthen your interview skills are abundant.
In this internship interview guide, you’ll find common internship interview questions and explanations describing what the interviewer is actually asking. Plus, we’ll cover the ideal way to answer questions to dazzle on the big day. Get out a notepad, and let’s get started!
Internship Interview Questions
Every question you’ll be asked is intentional and carefully chosen. Read the questions below and then head to the next section to develop clear and comprehensive responses.
Getting to Know You Interview Questions
Your resume and cover letter only give a small glimpse into you and your skills. The interviewer will use questions like the ones below to get a fuller sense of who you are.
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would your past coworkers/friends describe you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your future career goals?
Past Experience Interview Questions
To learn about your work ethic and attitude, the interviewer will ask about positions you’ve held in the past. If you don’t have much previous experience, expect questions about your academic and extracurricular activities.
- What is the biggest takeaway from your time in your last role?
- How did you stay organized and meet deadlines in your last role?
- What led you to choose your major?
- If there’s one thing you could change about your time in your previous position, what would it be?
You may be able to charm your way through certain portions of the internship interview. However, the interviewer will know whether you’re serious about the role based on your answers to company-specific questions. So be sure to research the company properly!
- Why do you want to work here?
- How do you think the company/industry will change in the next five years?
- What do you hope to accomplish/learn interning here?
- Do you have any questions about this company and the role?
Behavioral Interview Questions
An interviewer is not there to watch your daily interactions. Behavioral questions are the next best thing. Your answers give a sense of how you approach real-world situations. These questions will either ask for concrete examples from your past or be framed as hypothetical circumstances.
- Describe a time when you encountered a setback on the path to a goal. What did you do?
- A team member disagrees with you about the best way to tackle an important project. How do you proceed?
- Share a time when you juggled multiple tasks. What did you do to manage the different responsibilities?
- Things are fast-paced at our company. Tell me about a time when you had to think quickly on your feet in a professional setting.
How to Answer Common Internship Interview Questions
Interviewing is about balance. To impress, you’ll need to balance being personable with being professional. These four tips will help you strike the right balance so you can perform with confidence.
Speak with confidence, not arrogance
The volume of your voice, the words you choose and the speed at which you speak matter. When speaking to the interviewer, make sure that you are audible and self-assured. Ending an answer with, “I guess that’s how I would explain it,” or, “So, yeah, does that make sense?” makes you appear insecure.
Instead, share your ideas and answers with conviction. For instance, “Pursuing that job absolutely increased my interest in journalism” is much better than, “I think my time in that role kind of influenced me to look into journalism.”
While confidence is crucial, don’t veer into arrogant territory. If an interviewer gets the sense that you believe you’re a shoo-in, they won’t be impressed. To avoid this, remain engaged, answer questions fully and discuss how you are excited to grow professionally.
Use stories, not generic statements
Have you ever noticed that professors who tell stories in lectures are much more interesting? Take the same approach in your internship interview. Consider the fact that lots of candidates are also interested in the role. Standing out with a story is one way to remain memorable.
You can say, “I am a natural leader.” On the other hand, you can talk about a time that a team lead was unavailable, and you took the reins on a project, delegated tasks and steered the team towards a positive result. The second option is more engaging and more likely to stick in the interviewer’s mind.
Be prepared, not robotic
The best thing you can do before an interview is to prepare. This calms your nerves and helps you organize your thoughts. Nevertheless, there is such a thing as too much preparation. So how do you find the balance?
Your answers should be well thought out, and you should practice for the interview multiple times. However, you need to leave room for organic answers and talking points to pop up. If you memorize your answers and stick to them like a rigid script rather than a useful guide, you’ll come across as robotic.
The interviewer wants to gauge your enthusiasm for the position. Sounding like a pre-recorded machine won’t help you display your passion. So remember that this conversation is flexible.
Choose flattering answers, not dishonest ones
When the pressure to perform well is on, some candidates feel that embellishing past experiences will give them an edge. Don’t make this mistake.
Lying about yourself or past experiences can come back to hurt you professionally. On top of that, it’s not ideal to start a professional relationship based on something untrue. For the company’s sake and your own, keep your answers truthful.
You don’t have to have the best resume or the perfect answers to every question. The company is looking for interns that are willing to learn and ready to take on new challenges. A positive attitude and strong work ethic will get you much farther than a lie on your resume.
It’s Time to Interview Like Never Before
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