An interview for an internship is slightly different to a job interview. Practising answering these common internship interview questions will help prepare you to successfully express why you would like to do the internship and why you are a perfect fit for the team & organisation.
It is also a perfect moment for you to know if the team & organisation are the right fit for you – so prepare some questions you would like to ask in the internship interview, this will certainly impress the interviewer and make you more memorable.
If you’ve already been invited to an internship interview, you already have one foot in the door, as most companies wouldn’t waste their time interviewing a candidate they have doubts about. The interview is an excellent opportunity for you to delve deeper, clarify & expand what is on your CV and/or in your Motivational Letter.
7 common internship interview questions
#1: Tell us about yourself
This question is commonly used to kick off an interview and should allow you to relax. However, this question is open-ended and could leave you not knowing where to start. So, make sure you prepare a smart & concise response, keeping it to about 1-2 minutes. The interviewer will not be interested in your life story, but key highlights. Firstly, we advise to start with your education, what you’re studying and selecting certain achievements which you believe will help make you stand out (sporting achievements, academic achievements or personal achievements). Secondly, move on to your future career goals or interests. Lastly, discuss some of your personal interests and hobbies – this will help you to stand out, make you more memorable and build a personal connection with the interviewer. Always remember to focus on what is relevant to the organization and how you will add value.
#2: What do you know about us?
With this question you should be able to give a 10/10 answer – provided you have done your research. This is not only important for the interview, but also to ensure that the organisation aligns with your expectations, career goals and if it is the right fit for you. The interviewer will want to see if you have done your research, and it is also an opportunity for them to see how you communicate, convey ideas and your level of interest in the internship.
#3: Why would you like to do an internship with us?
This question is about how you relate to the organization and what you see in them – hopefully you have already considered this question before agreeing to the interview! Highlighting your specific skills or experience which relate to the organisation and how they relate to your career aims or career interests is a great way to go about responding to the question. It is also important to back up what you are saying with examples, such as courses you have undertaken or previous volunteering experience.
Of course, it may be the case that you do not have large amounts of relevant experience, that is fine. In this case, you could draw on specific aspects of the organisation that interest you or which you are passionate about.
From the interviewers perspective, this allows them to understand how serious you are about the opportunity and what types of projects you could potentially work on.
#4: Why do you want to work in this industry?
An internship is perfect for getting exposure to a particular career field or profession to see if it is right for you. You should be able to express what inspires you about the specific industry and demonstrate (again) that you have done some research about whether it is suitable for you, for example related assignments at university or general career interests.
It’s not always easy to know what career path you want to take and it’s fine to explain to the interview that you are still unsure, and you are looking for experience to better understand what is right for you. Be sure to explain how the internship will help you decide.
#5: How do you feel you can contribute to our organisation during your internship?
This question is literally, ‘What makes you the best candidate?’. Firstly, highlight the experiences, skills, and/or strengths that make you stand out from other applicants. Secondly, demonstrate how this uniqueness will benefit the organisation. Again, if you don’t have much experience, highlight your level of passion and interest related to the internship and how you would make a great fit.
Try to avoid generic statements, such as ‘I complete my work on time’ or ‘I can work alone and within a team’. These usually fail to impress the interviewer and could be interpreted as a lack of interest.
#6: What do you like to do in your free time?
This question is very similar to ‘tell us about yourself’ - open-ended and can leave you unsure what to say and what not to say. There is no need to overthink it. The interviewer is now interested in your personality and learning how you would fit into the team and get along with others. Here you can demonstrate your commitment, for example sports, language-learning or music, and that you also have a life outside of work and/or studying.
#7: Do you have any questions for us?
Here is when the interview flips in your favour as you literally have a golden opportunity to find out anything and ensure everything about the organisation is right for you. Its important to at least have one question prepared to show that you are engaged in the interview and have real interest in the opportunity – thoughtful, provoking questions are a great way to show this. Try to avoid generic questions, such as ‘What’s the dress code?’ – these can come later!
You can ask questions, such as:
What is it that you enjoy most about working at this organisation?
What are the other members of the team like?
What type of projects do you think I would be able to get involved in if I were to do the internship?
What plans does the organisation have for the next couple of years?
Remember to make sure you’re choosing internships that align with your long-term goals and your answers are targeted directly to the specific organisation.
Glassdoor recently published the 50 most common interview questions, check them out here!
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This blog post was written & published by Intern Colombia on 3 August 2020