Top 9 Questions to Ask in an Internship Interview
- What Is Involved in an Internship Interview?
- How to Prepare Your Internship Interview Questions
- Top 9 Questions to Ask in an Internship Interview
- Questions to Avoid
- Final Thoughts
If you are planning for internship interviews, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research into the company you are applying to.
It can be a bit scary having interviews for the first time, so make sure you build your confidence by doing some mock interviews. You can hire a coach or ask a family member or someone you trust to help you out.
When planning for a job interview, people tend to think about the questions they are going to be asked. It’s a good idea to focus mainly on this, but it’s also helpful to prepare some questions you can ask of the company, so you can show that you care about the role.
Asking questions shows you are a serious candidate who has put thought and planning into the application process. Usually the people running things will leave room for you to ask questions at the end of the formal interview, but if it feels natural, you can sprinkle in a few as you go through the process.
It’s not a good idea to skip this section of the interview. If the interviewers ask if you have any questions and you say you have none, it might look like you are not that interested or motivated.
The types of questions you ask reveal a fair bit about you. They may show you are a structured and methodical thinker – or perhaps that you think ahead and have a strong career focus or plan.
They will ask you general questions about yourself, as well as more specific ones about the role and whether you have the skills that match up.
If you’re applying for an internship, the interview you have might be shorter or simpler than that for a full-time job. You may not have verbal tests, numerical tests or a presentation to give, which are things you could reasonably expect in an assessment for a full-time job.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting off easy if you’re applying for an internship versus a full-time job. Internships are usually structured work-experience placements that employers treat like extended trial periods in getting to know you, so the whole internship can feel like a stretched-out interview.
Internships are typically offered to students, but can also be given to people who are older and perhaps looking for a change in career. The interviewers may not be expecting you to have a lot of experience (though any you do have is helpful), so think about how you would answer questions based on your personality and skill set.
You can focus on describing your potential and working on your soft skills when you make your application, and then ensure you are confident in speaking about them and demonstrating them during your actual interview.
When you are preparing interview questions to ask, make sure they are not things that could have easily been solved with some internet research. Taking the time to craft intelligent, thoughtful questions shows that you are a great candidate and not a lazy one.
Start by looking at the company website and their social media platforms to get a complete picture. Knowing the company mission and objectives is a solid way to show you are serious about working there.
Similarly, make sure you reread the original internship description. Teasing out the important information or required skills will help you prepare.
Another great way to research what might be appropriate to ask is to get the names of those interviewing you in advance and tailor questions specifically for them. You can look up their LinkedIn profiles (and use it as an opportunity to brush up your own [profile at the same time).
Make notes as you do your research and bring them with you to the internship interview. You may not need to pull them out, but if you do, it will show that you are prepared and organized. You might even want to make notes of important things that you are told during the interview process, so take a pen and a notepad.
Keep your questions open-ended as that shows real interest and allows your interviewer to speak and share more freely.
Here are the top nine questions to ask during your internship interview.
This question shows that you are conscious of being your best self and want to be sure that your own skills and qualities match up well with the internship role you are applying for.
If you have a long-term interest in working for this company, you could also extend this question and ask about career progression – for example, from intern to full-time employee and how you can make sure you get on track for that.
Asking about your potential daily routine shows that you are serious about this role.
Particularly for internships, where many of the applicants will be young, it makes sense to show that you are more self-aware, responsible and reliable than your peers.
Another reason to ask about day-to-day responsibilities is to make sure you will be learning valuable skills, not just photocopying and filing.
While it’s natural to have to pay your dues, make sure you’re not committing your valuable time to an internship that doesn’t stretch you and get you valuable experience.
Asking about success shows you have a growth mindset and that you are looking ahead.
Learning easily from other people is a great quality to showcase and demonstrates a willingness to be humble and gain experience.
Asking specifically about metrics shows you are a focused and analytical person. The emphasis on success also shows you want to be excellent at the role and focus on working hard, which would impress a prospective employer.
This question also demonstrates an awareness that company cultures can be different. Taking an interest in this specific organization and its values will help you work out if it’s a great fit for you down the line.
This question shows you are someone worth investing in and you want a future with them – that you’re not just after a job for the summer, for example. An internship program is often part of a funnel that corporations recruit from.
Employers want to save time and hire people for full-time jobs that they have already seen and worked with. Therefore, they will favor making time for and training interns who could potentially be long-term employees.
This question focuses on ways you can learn from others’ challenges and shows a willingness to engage and learn from the process. It also shows you’re not afraid of hardship and that you have the emotional intelligence or maturity to be aware of issues that may arise when you enter a new workplace.
Asking about training indicates you’re someone who invests in their future. Employers like to see a focus on lifelong learning and growth, as it shows you are someone who is committed.
If you can demonstrate this from the start, it will look great to your interviewer. You could even use this as an opportunity to expand further and ask about mentorship opportunities – this indicates a real willingness to mature and expand your mind.
Keeping things upbeat and giving the interviewer an opportunity to smile and focus on the positive is a great way to finish up the interview.
It also shows you are someone who is personable and enjoyable to spend time with – rather than someone who might be focused on the negative aspects of life.
Showing curiosity and interest in your potential employer is a smart move and begins building a personal connection with them.
Often during recruitment drives, people who interview get tired or bored of listening. Giving them a chance to speak – and shine – is a powerful way to change the energy in the room and show that you respect and admire the interviewers.
Avoid asking specifically about days off, perks or benefits. These are logistical things to be discussed after you get an actual internship offer – and you might come across as presumptuous if you bring them up at the interview stage.
Focus on asking questions that show you have a growth mindset and are willing to work hard at being a team player.
At an internship interview, you won’t need to demonstrate that you are the most experienced candidate. You need to show you are intelligent, interested and motivated, so gear your questions towards making those specific qualities shine.
When you’re prepping questions to ask at the end of your internship interview, make sure you think of more than you might need. It might be that three of your questions get answered during the main portion of the interview, so have some in reserve.
Be flexible and prepared to think of questions that come up based on the interview itself – your notepad will help you keep track if necessary. In fact, if you ask a follow-up question that builds on something your interviewer referred to earlier on, it’ll show that you were paying attention.
When you get home after an internship interview, send an email thanking them or following up.
Most people who haven’t worked in a corporate environment won’t know they should do this, so you can immediately stand out by extending the courtesy.