Now that you’ve landed an interview for the internship, make sure you are familiar with these top 15 interview questions for internships. You should practice them until you are comfortable with them. Along with the questions are the answers that you can tailor to fit your situation. Regardless of the type of internship, you should expect to encounter these questions. They are designed to show the interviewer if you are the right fit for the job.
1. “Tell me about yourself?”
This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to get to know you. As the first question asked, it gives you a chance to relax. Be specific. Your response should be no longer than 60 seconds. Start out by stating what your current job is and what responsibilities you have. Then give a few reasons why you are applying for the internship. Your goal is to make the interviewer remember you.
2. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Discuss more about your strengths and the steps you are taking to improve upon any weaknesses. Some candidates are afraid to expose their weaknesses. The key is to state the weakness and describe the steps you are taking to improve upon it. For example, if you have difficulty speaking in public, you could say, “Since I’ve joined Toastmasters, my communications skills have improved.
3. “Give me an example or a situation in which you accomplished a goal.”
Interviewers gain insight about how you will respond to different situations in the workplace when they know how you have responded to past situations. This can include anything from meeting deadlines to how you will work as part of a team. Try talking about one of your accomplishments. You can use examples from school, prior internships, or even previous work experiences.
4. “Let’s discuss what’s in your resume.”
The purpose of this question is to see how you discuss your education and experience. Take this opportunity to market yourself. The interviewer may start with reviewing your resume, but ultimately, he or she will ask you to provide more information about a variety of subjects. It could be a project you have worked on or the type of experience you may have in a given area.
5. “What are your career goals?”
Interviewers ask this question because they want to know how serious you are about pursuing a career in a given field. Consider whether you plan to go back to graduate school, or if you would like to work for the organization you are applying for. Your response should show that you’ve thought about plans to continue to develop your skills after your internship.
6. “Why did you decide to pursue this career?”
This type of question gives you the opportunity to showcase your most significant achievements. Discuss the things that motivate you and share how you make decisions. For example: “I’ve always enjoyed music, but knew I should be realistic about making it a career. I also liked teaching, so I became certified to teach music. Therefore, I’m qualified to teach music.”
7. “What have you gained from your work experiences?”
In this question, you are not being asked to simply list your past jobs. The interviewer has already seen your resume. Instead, choose one or two work experiences and explain what you’ve learned from that job. An example would be, “While working at the law firm, I wrote several business letters and drafted legal documents, which significantly improved my writing and communications skills.
8. “What difficulties have you faced on the job?”
This is a chance to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Talk about problems as challenges, and discuss solutions rather than the problems. For example: “While working at the hospital I had to deal with people who were ill, their families, doctors, nurses, and insurance companies. I learned about handling stress and seeing things from various points of view.”
9. “Describe a situation when you have handled a conflict.”
This question helps the interviewer understand how you handle difficult situations. Be prepared to talk about any type of conflict or difficulty that you have had with someone at school, with a co-worker or with a supervisor. Talk about what you did to resolve the situation. The situation you choose should not be too extreme and one that showcases your work ethic.
10. “How do you handle meeting tight deadlines?”
If an interviewer asks this question, then their company most likely has a lot of set deadlines to meet. Your response should describe how well you work under pressure. You may want to talk about the challenges of meeting deadlines and what motivates you. Describe a situation where it may have been difficult for you at first, but with time and experience you were able to more easily meet the expected deadline.
11. “Why should we hire you?”
The interviewer is trying to find out about your career goals before they make an investment in you. They want to know that you will be a good fit and that you are seriously interested in the position. Your response should focus on one or two main goals of the company and show how hiring you will help them achieve their goals.
12. “What are your salary expectations?”
In answering this question, you do not want to price yourself out of a job, nor do you want to sell yourself too short. Be confident in your abilities and let them know that you respect yourself. Do the research to find out what the typical salary is based on the role and responsibilities. Let them know that you are looking to be fairly compensated in accordance with your abilities.
13. “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?”
This question is similar to the one about career goals. Normally, there are not that many positions available for internships. Those who get them are very fortunate. Interviewers want to make sure they are choosing candidates who will value their time, because they are truly interesting in the career field. You should have a plan of where you want to be and how the internship will help you get there.
14. “What do you know about this specific industry and what are some trends that occurred in the past few years?”
An interviewer will ask this question to find out how much you are really interested in working for their company. Serious candidates will research both the job and the company that they are interviewing for. You can prepare by looking at the company’s website, researching the company’s Linked-In page, and reading any news articles. You can also talk with current employees.
15. “Why are manhole covers round?”
This question is among the many questions that interviews sometimes use to determine how well a candidate thinks on their feet. Be prepared for that one unusual question that has nothing to do with anything and has no right or wrong answer. Give a thoughtful response and move on to the next question.
In summary, if you can answer these 15 interview questions for internships, you will be well prepared. Tailor your responses to meet your particular situation and practice answering these 15 questions until they become second nature. After mastering these questions, start thinking of questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview!