A polished resume and clean-cut interview outfit can only take you so far. To land the internship, you need to confidently navigate the conversation and stand out. One way to do so is to ask questions that other applicants won’t.
Cookie-cutter questions will have the interviewer glancing at the clock. Instead, show that you’re engaged and passionate about the role. For unique and memorable questions to ask in an internship interview, read below.
7 Questions To Ask That Won’t Put The Interviewer to Sleep
1. What is the culture of the [marketing] department like at this company?
Substitute For: How would you describe the company culture?
Great questions to ask in an internship interview allow you to stand out while getting useful information about the company. Since company culture has a large influence on how you’ll mesh (or clash) with coworkers, it’s important to ask about it.
However, the company culture question has become cliche. Chances are, the interviewer has answered it a hundred times. So, take a unique approach by getting specific about the culture in the department you’ll be a part of. Other unique company culture questions include:
- How does the culture of [company] today compare to the culture five to ten years ago?
- What is one thing you would change about the company culture?
2. What is it about this company that led you to work here, and how have you been able to grow?
Substitute For: What do you enjoy about working at this company?
When coming up with questions to ask in an internship interview, include a few that focus on the interviewer. Building rapport is a great way to earn brownie points with the interviewer. By showing interest in the other person, you may unlock information that other candidates don’t.
For example, asking about the interviewer’s career path allows you to see what type of people do well at the company. Also, following up to learn about career growth helps you envision what the company can offer in terms of long term success.
3. What does a typical work week in this role look like?
Substitute For: What does a typical day in this role look like?
When you ask about a day in the life, you might get a generic response. Even if the interviewer provides a more substantial response, you’ll only be learning about a sliver of the workweek.
Asking about the job in a broader timeframe helps you get a complete picture of the role. Maybe you’ll meet with your team lead on Mondays. Maybe there are weekly inter-department brainstorming sessions every Wednesday. Show the interviewer that you think beyond the day to day with a question like this.
4. What are some of the challenges that an intern will face in this role?
Substitute For: Do you have any advice for an intern entering this role?
Employers value employees that can problem solve. Make it clear that you’re up for the challenge and don’t expect the internship to be a walk in the park. If possible, tie a company value into the question. For instance, “I know that teamwork is a core value at [company name]. What are some of the challenges that an intern will face along with their team?”
As you listen to the answer, ask yourself if these challenges excite you or if they sound dull and unappealing. The interviewer is learning if you would benefit the company, but you also see whether the company is a good fit for you.
5. What would you like to see an intern achieve in the first 60 days?
Substitute For: What are the key traits that lead to success in this internship?
What’s more exciting than a candidate who is eager to make a tangible impact at the company? Showcasing your desire to set goals and reach them is a great way to get on the interviewer’s good side.
Remember, companies take risks when they hire interns. The interns could shirk responsibilities or float through the job rather than working diligently. Setting a specific timeframe clarifies that you value the employer’s time and want them to know that you are worth the investment. So, add this to your list of questions to ask during an internship interview.
6. How does [company] equip interns to excel?
Substitute For: What can I do to excel in this internship?
The “How can I succeed here?” question is not a bad one. Simultaneously, it opens the door to a generic answer that likely references the qualities you read about in the job description. Furthermore, the interviewer may provide answers to this question throughout the interview so that the answer is already clear by the time they give you the floor.
To learn how the company treats interns, opt for the second question. You’ll be putting in hard work at the company. It’s not unreasonable to ask how the company is assisting you in your pursuits. The answer will help you form accurate expectations about the resources you’ll be receiving. On top of that, you’ll be able to learn whether the company offers the learning opportunities you’re in search of.
7. What metrics can I use to measure my performance in this role to ensure I’m positively impacting the company?
Substitute For: How will my supervisor measure my performance?
Last on our list of questions to ask in an internship interview is one that’s sure to impress. To show the interviewer that you take responsibility for your work, ask about performance metrics. This clarifies that you are willing to be accountable for your actions in the role and work hard to ensure that they are helping the department and the company.
By asking how you can measure your performance, you also show that you’re able to self evaluate. Interns are not expected to be outstanding at every task. But department heads want to know that the interns are humble enough to evaluate both successes and failures and learn from them.
Impress the Interviewer from Start to Finish
Developing fresh questions to ask during an internship interview is a worthwhile step in interview preparation. When you ask informed and distinct questions, you’ll be one step closer to sealing the deal on that dream internship.
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