Top 5 Internship Interview Questions

Wed, Jun 30, 2010

Internship Interview

Internship interviews are just like interviews for permanent jobs. You’ll have to answer questions about your interests and experiences. Here are some of the more common questions you might get on an internship interview.

1. What drew you to this industry?

The interviewer wants to get a sense for why you’re interested in a certain line of work. Try to talk about your major and extracurricular activities to create a strong case for yourself.  For example, if it’s an internship at a newspaper, you can talk about how you love writing for your college paper and want to see how a professional paper runs.

2. Why do you want to intern at this company?

This question digs a little deeper than question number one. There could be other companies around that do the same thing; why did you target this one? And “you’re the only one that interviewed me,” is not an OK answer!  Do your homework before the interview. Check out the website, read the company’s mission statement, history, and some recent news.  Then you can say, “I was impressed when I learned you were honored as one of the top 100 companies for young professionals,” or something like that.

3. What drew you to this internship?

And this question digs even deeper. The interviewer now knows why you’re interested in this industry and this company. Sometimes there’ll be multiple internship opportunities at the same organization. Why is this exact one right for you? This is where the job description is important. Use lines from the description to answer.  For example, “I see that interns here are crossed trained in every accounting function. That would be a great way for me to learn different parts of the profession.”

4. Tell me about your experiences in. . .

This gets into your technical skills. Some internships may have software requirements beyond basic computer literacy. Others may require skills like public speaking, research, or customer service. Again, this is where your college classes and activities are key. Tell the interviewer that you designed the Facebook page for your sorority, or assisted a professor with a research project, or learned a lot about customer service working as a barista.

5. Tell me about a time when you. . .

This is a classic behavorial interview question.  Behavioral interview questions ask you to tell a story about a situation, your role, and the outcome. The interviewer could ask, “Tell me about a time when you had to do a group project. What was your role?” You would briefly explain the situation and your part in the group. Not everyone is a group leader, but everyone contributes. Play up your accomplishments, for example, “I did the background research” or “I designed the supporting PowerPoint.” There are other tell me about a time questions, like, a time you met or didn’t meet a goal, or a time when you had to make a difficult decision.

There might be more questions at your interview, but these 5 are common. Work with a friend to practice answers before your interview to calm your nerves. With some prep, you’ll do great on your internship.

By Danielle Bullen. Danielle is a writer and a resident of the Philadelphia area. Danielle can be reached at Daniellebullen@comcast.net.

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