As students prepare for their internship interview, they should be ready to address the key skills and accomplishments that they have listed on their resume. They should be able to highlight the experience listed on their resume and tell stories that illustrate their strengths and let the organization know what they have to offer them as a potential new employee.
In an interview, it’s best to start and end strong. It only takes 60 seconds to make a positive first impression, so starting off strong is crucial to having a successful interview. At the end of an interview, a candidate’s best bet to make themselves memorable by leaving on a strong note.
In these two instances, it’s important to take the lead with a strong handshake, a smile, and thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet. Here are some of the standard interview questions that are generally asked, along with more specific and behavioral questions.
General Interview Questions
- Tell me a little bit about yourself.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- Do you work better under pressure or with time to plan and organize?
- Why are you interested in this internship?
- Why should we consider you for this internship?
- What do you know about this industry/company?
- How would your faculty/friends/co-workers describe you?
- What three words would you choose to best describe yourself?
- Why did you choose your major?
Behavioral Interview Questions
- Give an example of how you’ve dealt with a conflict with another person.
- Tell me a story either personal or professional that paints a picture of you.
- Describe a situation where your judgment proved to be an invaluable contribution to a team.
- How do you handle meeting tight deadlines?
- Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
- What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle this.
- Give an example of how you work on a team.
- Can you remember a time when you handled a difficult situation with another student or co-worker? What did you do?
- Share an example of how you’ve been able to motivate team members.
- Describe how you would handle a difficult relationship that you felt was holding you back on the job.
When interviewing for an internship, candidates should not only be prepared to answer questions similar to those above; but will also want to be prepared for questions that are less conventional than those that are normally asked.
For example, interviewers sometimes will ask questions where the answer doesn’t matter. In these types of questions, the interviewer is looking to see the interviewee's thought process rather than a specific answer.
For example, “how many chocolate chip cookies would it take to go from the Empire State Building to Central Park?” Or, “if you were producing a movie who would be your main actors and what roles would they play?”
There is no right answer to either of these questions. The key is to remain composed and confident and quickly move on to the next question. Tricky interview questions may also be asked to see how much a candidate knows about the company culture, as well as an assessment of their personal values.
Although a candidate doesn’t want to change who they are when answering interview questions, they will want to do due diligence when researching the company. This will allow them to be thoughtful when answering questions that portray their personal value system (i.e., favorite musical artist, favorite movie, favorite TV show, or even favorite video game or social networking site). The answers provided could help the interviewer decide if they are a good fit for the company.