10+ Best Internship Interview Questions & Answers (To Ace The Interview)
Getting prepared for an internship interview is important. An internship can be the first step towards starting your career. And as experience becomes more vital to have on the resume than education, it’s important that you surround yourself with the right environment early on in your career, to help accelerate your career path as a professional.
We’re going to cover a variety of topics to help you prepare for your internship interview. From internship interview questions you’ll receive over the phone, to in person, and even what to bring with you when you go to your on-site interview or group interview.
5 Common Internship Interview Questions & Answers
Internship interview questions are slightly different than your traditional interview questions. This is because as an intern, you might not be compensated for your work. More commonly, the hiring manager is going ask you questions related to your interest in the company. Let’s go through what those are.
1. What do you know about our company?
“I remember hearing about the founding story of [CEO] many years ago, I always found it incredibly inspiring. How someone could grow a company from nothing to what it is today. I know you sell [Product/Service] and have around [X] number of employees.”
See more about answering “What do you know about our company?”
2. How did you hear about this internship?
“I was looking for an opportunity to work with a company of this size and in this industry. And I found the opportunity directly through the corporate website. But I also found it on LinkedIn as well, which is where I do a majority of my job searches.”
3. Why do you want to be an intern here?
“Experience is truly the most important part of the resume. And because of that, I know I need more experience having been a recent college graduate. I would be willing to perform any task, big or small, in order to gain exposure into the inner workings of any department. This company is truly profound, the environment seems collaborative and I have a passion for what we offer as a company.”
4. Where do you see your career taking you?
“I want to work within this industry. I have a particular passion for the product and marketing departments. While I’m an intern, my goal is to try and see where I best resonate department-wise. After that, I’m hoping I can gain an entry-level position inside that department and start there.”
5. What do you think your best quality is?
“My best quality is being able to empathize with our customers or my colleagues. I’ve found that empathy is the best way to obtain the trust of others and to perform the best.”
See a similar question, “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”
5 Phone Interview Internship Questions & Answers
When a pre-screen interview session occurs, this means that the interviewer who is working with you is going to be asking you qualifying questions before they ask you to come on-site. In phone interview sessions for internships, the questions you might be asked are more related to your interest in the company and your personal background.
1. What did you study in school?
Answer: “I was studying business and marketing at [X] university. I was able to graduate with a high GPA and with honors. I was also part of many of our extracurricular clubs that gave me additional insight into where I wanted to see myself going with my career.”
2. Did you do anything outside of school that would be relative to this internship?
Answer: “Absolutely. I found myself reading at least one book a week related to this industry. I knew that school was only going to take me so far. It was going to give me the foundation, but I also needed to learn from those who had experience and the only way to do that was to read books by professionals in the industry.”
3. What are some of your passions?
Answer: “I’ve always been passionate about helping others. In my spare time, I like to put together meals for those less fortunate, through my church group. That’s a passion of mine, helping others.”
See more about answering, “What are some of your passions?”
4. What do you think your classmates would say about you?
Answer: “I think they would say kind things. They would say that I am empathetic, hardworking and appreciate challenges. I know that many of my classmates don’t love challenges, but I appreciate them.”
5. How soon could you start?
Answer: “I’m ready and available to start as soon as I can. I’m no longer at school and in the area. When would you like me to come in and meet the team?”
See more about answering, “When are you available to start?”
What To Expect In An Internship Interview
An internship interview is going to be slightly less formal than a regular interview. This is because the interviewer knows that there may not be compensation related to the job you are about to perform. But the hiring manager is going to be questioning you about your passion for the industry and wanting to learn how hard you are going to work even without the compensation.
Generally, the process will be quite simple:
- A pre-screen or phone interview
- A meeting with the team on-site
- Correspondence via email about the internship forward (if it goes well)
- Talking about start date and signing internship/employment agreements
Expect that during your interview, you’ll be speaking about these areas of interest as well speaking with a few team members or leadership members to ensure that you are a good fit for the internship.
Internship Interview Tips
Being able to ace an internship interview isn’t rocket science. But when you are competing with other applicants who want the same internship opportunity, you really have to ensure you stand out. Interviewers are looking for candidates who show the best knowledge of the company and show the biggest passion for wanting to work hard.
That means the more you can prepare yourself for being able to answer questions related to the company history, the industry as a whole and why you feel you are a good candidate, the better you’ll perform.
Here’s some area’s you’ll want to make sure you research in advance:
- Who the founder or CEO is
- What product or service the company offers
- What the founding story of the company was
- Any recent news on the business or industry
The best tip is to be sure to send a thank you email to the hiring manager after your interview. This is a powerful email that shows professionalism and passion to working with the company.
What Good Answers Look Like
Good interview answers during internship interviews often look as though you have a healthy amount of experience working within the industry already. In order to achieve that, all you have to do is study what the company offers and what the industry status is.
For example, good answers show your knowledge of the market-space. Like so, “I’m passionate about joining this company because I’ve seen how the telecommunication industry has changed over the years, going to an almost entirely digital operation from having been mostly ‘boots on the ground’ and that’s something I need to be involved in.”
We show that we have knowledge of the industry in some way and express how that fits in with our particular career path and desire for the position.
What Bad Answers Look Like
Bad answers during internship interviews often are forced. Showing very little knowledge of what the company ethos or goals are. If you don’t have any understanding of what the company is trying to achieve, it will show. And that will look quite poorly on you.
For example, a bad interview answer looks like this, “I recently graduated and I’m looking for experience. So I found this internship and applied.”
As you can see, that answer lacks enthusiasm and also lacks some acknowledgment of the industry. That appears as though you aren’t truly passionate about wanting this internship.
What To Bring With You To The Internship Interview
Showing up with the right equipment is going to make you appear professional and ready for work. The best things that you can bring with you to your internship interview are the following:
- A pen or writing tool
- Paper to write on
- Any letters of recommendation
- Any early stage resume that you might have
- Your current GPA or accolades from university or schooling
What To Wear To The Internship Interview
Dressing professional can be a helpful way to ensure that you are showing respect to the interview. The way you dress is important. As men and women, depending on the time of year, your attire may need to change. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you attend your interview in what is classified as “business casual”. Most environments don’t require dress suits and ties any longer. But if you are in the finance or banking industry, you may still have to attend your interview in a formal wear.
As a woman, in the summer, be sure that you don’t wear anything short or revealing. You want to present yourself as a professional and revealing attire can sometimes portray the opposite.
What should I bring with me to my internship interview?
You should bring a writing tool, paper for taking notes, letters of recommendation by your professors or other managers, your resume and any accolades from schooling which may help in the hiring managers decision making.
What are common internship interview questions?
- What do you know about our company?
- How did you hear about this internship?
- Why do you want to be an intern here?
- Where do you see your career taking you?
- What do you think your best quality is?
What are internship phone interview questions?
- What did you study in school?
- Did you do anything outside of school that would be relative to this internship?
- What are some of your passions?
- What do you think your classmates would say about you?
- How soon could you start?
What are some internship interview tips?
- Know who the founder or CEO is
- Know what product or service the company offers
- Know what the founding story of the company was
- Know any recent news on the business or industry
What if the interview relies heavily on work experience that I don't have?
Try to relocate your lack of work experience with skills that you feel are applicable to the job. Look through the job description or internship description to get an idea of what the most valued skills are for the position. Then try to speak to your skills in a way that lines up with potential work experience.
What if my interviewer asks open-ended questions?
These would be considered behavioral interview questions or situational interview questions. Answer them with a quick story, that takes no more than 90-seconds to describe. And that has a conclusion that helps to speak to the skills or experience your employer is looking for.
Are problem-solving skills important to internship positions?
Absolutely. Speak to your ability to solve multidisciplinary problems.
What if they ask about extracurricular activities?
Choose hobbies that show your strengths as a potential candidate. Something that aligns with the goals you have for your career and yourself. Something like competing or running, for example.
Should I follow-up with questions like, "what is the interview process like?"
It's always great to learn more about the interview process or to simply ask questions in return. This shows your engagement in the conversation and your desire to become part of the team. Yes, you should ask this question.
What if I don't have any hands-on experience the recruiter is looking for?
Most interns won't. Try to speak to your career goals, your interest in the hiring process, your skills, and then show your willingness to be adaptable and a team player. That's what interns are great at.
Are there other intern interview questions I should be preparing for?
Yes, certainly. You should prepare for all types of interview questions. There may not be specific intern interview questions that your hiring manager asks. But I would expect to hear questions regarding your long-term goals and questions related to your goals in general. The above guide references the most common interview questions asked to interns.
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