How to Prepare for a Successful Interview & Common Internship Interview Questions
How to Prepare for a Successful Internship Interview
An intern interview is similar to a job interview and you can use many of the same strategies to find success. If you are reading this because you are getting ready for your internship interview congratulations! Internships can be a great way to get experience on your resume and help you find a career path that you love. Below are some ideas you can use to prepare. If you an overachiever (I know you are) you can move on to this article once you have completed this one and downloaded our Interview Magic Workbook.
Research the company: Before you go into an interview, it’s important to do research on the company you are applying for. Find out about their history, products or services they offer, and how they are different from other companies in the same field. This information will help you answer questions during your interview as well as show that you are dedicated to the job.
Practice your interviewing skills: Make sure you have a few practice sessions with family, friends or colleagues before the interview. You can also use role-play techniques and mirroring exercises to get comfortable with the format of an interview and fine-tune your responses. Arrive early.
Dress professionally: It goes without saying that you should dress professionally for an interview. Make sure your clothing is neat, clean and appropriate for the industry you are applying to. Check out these tips if you want to really crush it. Business casual is the way to go and you can find plenty of ideas online for outfits.
Bring copies of your resume: It’s a good idea to bring several copies of your resume (both printed and digital) with you to the interview, in case the interviewer needs them.
Know common internship interview questions: Before the interview, make sure you know some of the most common questions asked in internship interviews, so that you can prepare answers ahead of time. Prepare clear and concise responses.
Are internship interviews easy?
No. You should be prepared, you are worth it.
What Should You Not Do in an Internship Interview?
Avoid speaking negatively about a previous employer, don’t be late, and be respectful when meeting your interviewer. It is also important to remember that you are being evaluated the entire time you are in the interview process.
Don’t talk about salary or benefits too early: It’s best to wait for the interviewer to bring up salary and benefits. Asking about them too soon can be off-putting, so focus on demonstrating your enthusiasm and qualifications first.
Don’t not ask questions: At the end of your interview, be sure to have a few questions ready to ask. This shows that you are interested in the internship and engaged during the interview process.
Do not underestimate anyone in the process: they work there and you don’t. In most cases even the person scheduling your meetings is asked for their feedback about you. The hiring manager is not the only one making this decision.
Do not tell them what is wrong with their company, brand, or product: it will not lead to a successful interview. There may be a chance to share your insights later, do so sparingly.
Do not forget to follow up: After the interview, make sure to thank your interviewer for their time and send a follow-up note as soon as possible. This will let them know that you appreciate the opportunity and are still interested in the internship.
What Questions are Asked in the Internship Interview Process?
Prepare your own answers to the internship interview questions below, make sure they align with your career goals, your own research, and are appropriate to the internship position for which you are interviewing. The answers below are for your reference. Keep it simple, have work samples ready when you can, and read over the job description before you begin.
Tell us about an assignment or project from start to finish—what went well and what would you have done differently?
Talk about a project or assignment you have done in the past. Explain what went well and what you would have done differently if you could do it again. Focus on the plan you made to approach the task, the way you organized your work, how you collaborated and supported others and what you learned.
What do you know about our company?
Explain what you have learned from researching the company and its industry. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and why you would be a great fit for their team. Let them know that you looked into the internship program and are familiar with their company website.
Why are you interested in this internship?
Explain why this particular internship is appealing to you, citing specific skills and qualifications that make this opportunity an attractive one. It is fine to let them know you are targeting a full time job if that is the case. Let them know why the professional experience you will gain means a lot to you and that an internship position is a part of your larger strategy.
What do you think are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Explain what skills, experiences, or educational background makes you well-suited for the job. Discuss any areas in which you can improve and how you plan on doing so.
How have you prepared for this interview?
Show that you have done your research on the company, its industry, and role. Demonstrate that you are prepared and ready to speak about why you are a great fit for the job. Let them know you have looked into the company’s goals, vision, and want to be a part.
What would you do if you faced an ethical dilemma in the workplace?
Explain your approach to resolving ethical issues. Show that you understand the importance of integrity and professional conduct, and how it relates to the job and company.
What questions do you have for us?
This is your chance to inquire about any unanswered questions you may have. Ask about the culture, team dynamics, and how interns are integrated into the organization. Show that you are curious and eager for more information.
Tell me about a time you had to quickly learn something new
Explain a time when you had to learn something new quickly. Talk about how you went about learning it, what resources or help you used, and what challenges you faced. Show the interviewer that you are capable of taking on new challenges and can use your knowledge and skills to adapt quickly in any situation.
Why are you the best candidate for this internship?
Show that you have the skills and qualifications they are looking for, and that you understand how your experiences make you a great fit. Let them know why your knowledge, passion, and commitment to the task makes you stand out from other candidates. This is one of the more common internship interview questions.
Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback on your work
Explain how you received negative feedback on a task and what you did to improve. Show that you took the criticism constructively, understand the importance of making changes, and can use it to grow professionally. Make sure to also explain what steps you have taken to prevent similar issues from happening in the future.
What are your plans after graduation?
Explain what your plans are after graduation. Talk about how you plan to use the skills and knowledge gained from this internship to pursue a career, as well any other educational or professional goals you have in mind. Show that you already have an idea of where you want to take your career/job search and how this internship program will help get there.
What are your career goals?
Talk about your long-term career goals and how this particular internship program can help you achieve them. Show that you are ambitious, motivated, and have a clear idea of what direction you want to take your career in. Explain why the company’s mission resonates with you and why it is important for you to be part of it.
Do you work better alone or with a team?
Explain that you are comfortable working both independently and collaboratively. Show the interviewer that you have experience in team collaboration and understand how to take initiative when required. Talk about any projects you have worked on previously and the successes achieved due to your involvement. You may want to reflect on the challenges that you faced (and overcame) in a group project, for example.
Why did you choose this university?
Explain why you chose your university, and how it has prepared you for this internship. Show that you are aware of the skills and knowledge gained from your studies, as well as any extracurricular activities or projects completed during your time at university (these can be great examples of how you thrive in a team setting). Also, highlight how the university’s environment and opportunities have allowed you to grow as an individual.
What are your favorite and least favorite classes?
Discuss your favorite classes and what you learned from them. Explain why you enjoyed these classes the most, and how they have helped shape your interests in this field. Talk about the topics that were covered in the class, any projects or assignments that you completed, and your overall experience with these classes.
In addition to this, explain any classes that you didn’t enjoy as much and why. Show the interviewer that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and how this helps you to become a better individual. Highlight any skills or experiences gained from these classes despite not enjoying them overall.
What attracted you to our company?
Show the interviewer that you have done your research and understand the company’s mission, values, and goals. Talk about why these things resonated with you and why this internship program is a great fit for your personal and professional development. Demonstrate that you are passionate about joining their team and contributing to their success.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment you are proud of?
Discuss a project or accomplishment that you are proud of. Explain what it was and why you enjoyed working on it. Talk about the challenges encountered, any milestones reached, and how you overcame obstacles to reach your goals. Show the interviewer that you are resourceful, creative, and have great problem-solving skills.
Tell me the best team you have ever been part of? Tell me the ideal team?
Discuss the best team that you have been part of and what made them successful. Talk about how each person contributed to the final result, and how you all worked together to overcome any challenges faced. Explain why this team was effective, and what lessons you learned from it.
When talking about an ideal team, show the interviewer that you understand the importance of a diverse and collaborative team. Explain how having different perspectives, skillsets, and experiences can create an atmosphere of creativity which enables everyone to reach their full potential. Highlight any factors that you believe are essential for successful teamwork, such as communication and trust.
Tell me the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
Discuss the biggest challenge that you have faced and how you overcame it. Talk about any difficulties encountered, and how you were able to identify solutions to these problems. Show the interviewer that you are resilient and can think outside of the box in order to reach a successful outcome. Explain what lessons you learned from this experience and how they can be applied to future challenges.
You can also use this opportunity to talk about any challenges that you faced (and overcame) in a group project, for example. Explain to the hiring manager how everyone on the team contributed and worked together to find an effective solution. Show that you are aware of the importance of teamwork and how it can be used to reach a positive outcome.
Do you have any questions for us?
At the end of the interview, it’s important to ask questions about the internship program or company. You can ask about any expectations for interns, what kind of projects or tasks you may be working on, and if there are any opportunities for professional development. Show that you are interested in learning more and expanding your knowledge and have your own questions. Demonstrate that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity and eager to contribute to the company’s success.
By preparing for these questions, you can ensure that you are able to confidently answer any asked and demonstrate your knowledge, skillset, and passion for the role. An internship is worth preparing for and you can stand out by practicing these questions with a friend.
The Key to a Successful Internship Interview is Preparation
By researching the company and its mission, values, and goals ahead of time you can show that you are passionate about joining their team. Additionally, by discussing any challenges faced in past projects or accomplishments as well as what makes a great team, you demonstrate your problem-solving skills and ability to work with others. Finally, asking questions at the end shows enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more which will help set yourself apart from other applicants. With these tips in mind, it’s now time to go out there and ace your next internship interview! Clever Heading: “Ready Set Ace Your Internship Interview!”
More advice – What if I Don’t Get the Internship?
Keep looking and get creative. Unless your career trajectory is in engineering or accounting you may be fine with an unstructured internship. These are often unpaid and can still get you a good understanding of the industry experience to be had and give you a chance to work alongside people you can learn from.
Smaller companies are often easy to approach and you can explain your interest and your strengths to them in a way that will get you in the door. The fact that they can get an intern without bothering with any paperwork from the University can be a plus.
Recent graduates can use this same tactic to get experience on their resume and help out companies that value their help – this is a two way street after all so you need to be prepared to work and be as professional as you would for formal internships.
Don’t quit, never give up on yourself, and remember that your success is not going to be accidental. You need to put in the work now, get the internship, and make your way.