An internship can be a valuable opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain hands-on experience in their field of study, build their professional skills, and explore potential career paths. To secure an internship, candidates often have to go through an interview process with the company or organization.
The internship interview allows the employer to get to know the candidate and assess their fit for the role and the organization. It is also a chance for the candidate to learn more about the company and the internship and to showcase their skills and experience.
Preparing for the internship interview is key to increasing your chances of success. This involves researching the company and the role, practicing common interview questions, and seeking resources to improve your interview skills. In this article, I will share the importance of the internship interview, provide tips for preparing, outline common internship interview questions that may ask, and offer advice on how to answer them effectively.
Preparing for the internship interview
One of the most important steps in preparing for an internship interview is researching the company and the role. This can help you understand the company’s mission, values, and culture, as well as the specific responsibilities and requirements of the internship. It can also help you tailor your answers to the specific needs and expectations of the employer.
Here are some suggestions for researching the company and the internship:
- Visit the company’s website and read about its products, services, and mission.
- Look for company news articles or press releases to get a sense of the company’s current projects and priorities.
- Check out the company’s social media accounts to see what they post about and how they present themselves to the public.
- Reach out to people you know who work at the company or have interned there in the past to get their perspective.
- If the internship is in a specific field or industry, research current trends and issues in that field.
In addition to researching the company and the role, it is also important to practice common interview questions. This can help you feel more confident and prepared for the actual interview. Here are some resources for finding potential interview questions and practicing:
- Online question databases: Our website offers lists of common interview questions organized by topic or industry.
- Mock interviews: Consider practicing with a friend or career counselor in person or via video call. They can ask you questions and give you feedback on your responses.
20 Internship interview questions and answers examples
Here are 20 internship interview questions and sample answers to give you an idea of what the employer may ask and how you can respond:
Tell me about yourself.
This is an open-ended question that allows the employer to get to know you on a personal level. Keep your answer focused on your relevant skills and experiences, and try to tie them to the internship or the company.
Sample answer: “I’m currently pursuing a degree in [major] at [university]. In my coursework and extracurricular activities, I’ve gained skills in [relevant skills], which I believe would be valuable in this internship. I’m also very interested in [industry/company], and I’m excited about the opportunity to learn and contribute at [company].”
Why do you want to intern at our company?
The employer wants to know why you are interested in their company and what you hope to gain from the internship.
Sample answer: “I’m very impressed with [company]’s mission to [mission] and the innovative work you’re doing in [industry]. I’m also interested in learning more about [specific aspect of company/industry]. This internship would give me valuable hands-on experience and exposure to various projects and teams.”
What skills and experiences do you have that make you a good fit for this role?
This question allows you to highlight your relevant skills and experiences and explain how they align with the requirements and responsibilities of the internship.
Sample answer: “I have [relevant skills and experiences], which I believe make me a strong fit for this internship. In my previous internship at [previous internship], I gained experience in [specific skills/tasks] and developed my [specific skills]. I also have [additional relevant skills/experience], which I believe would be valuable in this role.”
Describe a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it.
The employer is looking for examples of handling difficult situations and solving problems.
Sample answer: “One time, I was working on a group project where we had to [task] by a tight deadline. One of my teammates fell behind, and we were at risk of not meeting the deadline. I suggested dividing the work differently and putting in extra hours to catch up. We were able to meet the deadline and receive a high grade on the project. This experience taught me the importance of adaptability and teamwork in meeting challenges.”
How do you handle working in a team?
This question allows you to demonstrate your teamwork skills and give examples of how you contribute to group projects.
Sample answer: “I enjoy working in a team and believe that different perspectives and skills can lead to better outcomes. In my past team projects, I’ve taken on various roles, such as [specific roles], and made an effort to communicate effectively and listen to others’ ideas. I also try to be proactive in finding solutions and helping out where needed.”
What are your long-term career goals?
The employer may be interested in your career aspirations and how this internship fits your plans.
Sample answer: “I’m still exploring different career options, but I’m interested in [specific industry/career path]. I believe this internship would provide valuable experience and help me better understand what a career in [industry] would be like. Ultimately, I hope to use my skills and experience to impact [specific area] positively.”
How do you handle working under pressure?
The employer wants to know how you handle tight deadlines and high-stress situations.
Sample answer: “I understand that working under pressure is a common part of many jobs, and I have developed strategies to help me stay focused and productive in these situations. For example, I prioritize tasks, break them down into smaller steps, and set achievable goals. I also try to take breaks to clear my mind and refocus. In my past experiences, these strategies have helped me meet deadlines and produce high-quality work even under pressure.”
How do you handle criticism or feedback?
The employer looks for examples of how you respond to and learn from feedback.
Sample answer: “I believe constructive criticism is an important part of learning and growing my career. When I receive feedback, I try to listen actively and consider the perspective of the person giving it. I also ask clarifying questions to make sure I understand the feedback and how I can apply it in the future. I believe that taking in feedback, whether positive or negative, is an important part of personal and professional development.”
Why should we hire you for this internship?
This is your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight your unique qualifications and value.
Sample answer: “I believe I would be a strong asset to your team because of my [relevant skills and experiences]. In my previous internships and coursework, I’ve gained experience in [specific skills/tasks] and developed my [specific skills]. I’m also very motivated to learn and contribute, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work at [company] and learn from your team. My skills and passion make me an ideal fit for this internship.”
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
The employer is looking for an honest assessment of your skills and areas for improvement.
Sample answer: “One of my strengths is [specific skill]. I’ve had the opportunity to develop this skill through [relevant experiences] and have received positive feedback from my peers and supervisors. One area where I’m looking to improve is [specific weakness]. I’m actively working on this by [specific steps] and believe that I can become stronger in this area with continued practice and learning.”
How do you handle a heavy workload?
The employer wants to know how you prioritize tasks and manage your time.
Sample answer: “I understand that a heavy workload is often a part of many jobs, and I have developed strategies to help me manage my time and stay organized. I prioritize tasks based on importance and deadlines and break larger tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps. I also use tools like calendars and to-do lists to stay on track. In my past experiences, these strategies have helped me effectively manage my workload and meet deadlines.”
How do you handle a difficult or conflictive situation with a colleague or supervisor?
The employer is looking for examples of handling conflict and communicating effectively.
Sample answer: “I believe that open and honest communication is key in resolving conflicts or difficult situations. When I’ve disagreed with a colleague or supervisor, I’ve tried to listen to their perspective and express my own respectfully and constructively. I also try to find common ground and look for solutions that address the concerns of both parties. I believe that by approaching conflicts this way, I can find mutually beneficial resolutions and maintain positive working relationships.”
What are your expectations for this internship?
The employer wants to know what you hope to gain from the internship and how you see it fitting into your long-term goals.
Sample answer: “I’m hoping to understand better [specific aspect of industry/career] and gain hands-on experience in finishing the above in a professional setting. I’m also excited to learn from the team at [company] and contribute my skills and ideas to projects. In the long term, I hope this internship will provide me with valuable experience and insights that will help me in my future career. I also hope to establish connections in the industry and positively impact the company and the projects I work on.”
How do you handle working on multiple tasks or projects at the same time?
The employer wants to know how you prioritize and manage your workload when you have multiple tasks or projects.
Sample answer: “I understand that juggling multiple tasks or projects is a common part of many jobs, and I have developed strategies to help me stay organized and focused. I prioritize tasks based on importance and deadlines and break larger tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps. I also use tools like calendars and to-do lists to keep track of my progress. In my past experiences, these strategies have helped me effectively manage my workload and complete tasks efficiently.”
Describe a time when you had to learn something new quickly.
The employer is looking for examples of your ability to adapt quickly and learn new skills.
Sample answer: “One time, I had to learn [specific skill] for a group project in a very short time frame. I approached the task by breaking it down into smaller steps, seeking out resources such as online tutorials and videos, and asking my peers and professors for help. I also practiced and applied the skill in various contexts to ensure that I fully understood it. Through this process, I learned the skill and applied it effectively in the project, and I believe that this experience demonstrates my ability to adapt and learn quickly.”
How do you handle working independently?
The employer wants to know if you can work independently and take the initiative.
Sample answer: “I enjoy working independently and taking the initiative on projects. I believe it’s important to be proactive and take ownership of my work. In the past, I’ve completed projects by setting clear goals, breaking tasks down into smaller steps, and seeking out resources and help when needed. I also communicate with my supervisors and colleagues to ensure that I’m meeting their expectations and aligning with the team’s overall goals.”
Describe a time when you had to work with a tight deadline.
The employer is looking for examples of handling tight deadlines and prioritizing tasks.
Sample answer: “One time, I had to complete a group project with a very tight deadline. I prioritized tasks based on importance to meet the deadline and worked efficiently by breaking larger tasks into smaller steps. I also communicated with my teammates to ensure we were all on track and effectively coordinated our efforts. Through this process, we completed the project on time and received a high grade.”
How do you handle working in a fast-paced environment?
The employer wants to know how you adapt to and thrive in a fast-paced setting.
Sample answer: “I excel in fast-paced environments because I can adapt quickly and stay organized. I prioritize tasks based on importance and deadlines and break larger tasks down into smaller steps. I also use tools like calendars and to-do lists to stay on track. In addition, I’m a good communicator and work well with others, which helps me coordinate my efforts with my team and meet deadlines efficiently.”
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work or school?
The employer may be interested in getting to know you personally and understanding your interests and passions.
Sample answer: “Outside work and school, I enjoy [specific hobbies/interests]. For example, I enjoy [specific hobby/interest] because it allows me to [specific benefit/reason]. I am also passionate about [specific hobby/interest] and have participated in [relevant activities/experiences]. These hobbies and interests have helped me develop valuable skills such as [specific skills] and contribute to my personal growth and well-being.”
Do you have any questions for us?
This is your opportunity to ask questions about the internship or the company to show interest and enthusiasm.
Sample answer: “Yes, I have a few questions. First, could you tell me more about the specific projects and responsibilities I would be working on during the internship? I’m also interested in learning more about the company’s culture and values. Finally, I’m curious about opportunities for professional development and growth within the company. Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about the internship and the company.”
Tips for answering internship interview questions
Here are some tips for effectively answering internship interview questions:
- Tailor your answers to the specific company and role. Show that you have researched the company and understand what they are looking for in an intern.
- Provide specific examples to illustrate your skills and experiences. Use concrete examples from your past internships, coursework, or extracurricular activities to demonstrate your abilities.
- Be honest and genuine. The employer is looking for candidates who are authentic and genuine. Avoid giving vague or generic answers, and try to be yourself.
- Ask questions of your own. Asking thoughtful and relevant questions shows your interest and enthusiasm for the internship and the company.
- Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice answering common interview questions, the more comfortable and confident you will feel during the interview. Consider practicing with a friend or career counselor to get feedback on your responses.
In conclusion, the internship interview is a crucial step in securing a position and can be a valuable opportunity to learn more about the company and the role. Preparing for the interview by researching the company and practicing common questions is key to increasing your chances of success.
Common questions may include those about your skills, experiences, and career goals and more general questions about your communication and problem-solving skills. By following the tips outlined in this article and seeking out resources to improve your interview skills, you can effectively answer these questions and showcase your fit for the internship.
Overall, the internship interview is an important opportunity to demonstrate your value and passion. With the right preparation and approach, you can increase your chances of securing a position that will help you grow and learn in your field.