Internship Job Interview Question Preparation Guide

internship interview tips
Created by CakeResume

Landing an internship is an important step in any career journey. It can help you gain experience in your desired field and potentially lead to a full-time job offer. If you're lucky enough to score an interview for an internship, make sure you prepare your answers to interview questions well! 

There are different types of internships. Internship positions can be categorized by

  • Compensation - paid or unpaid
  • Duration - e.g. summer internships, spring internships, full-year internships, etc.
  • Industry - e.g. HR internships, data analyst internships, marketing internships, etc.

We will try to give useful tips that can be applied to all types of internship interviews.

An internship interview is usually less intense than a regular job interview. Because it's an internship, the company is also likely less interested in your qualifications and more interested in your potential. With that in mind, let's move on to our top 5 tips to help you prepare for your internship interview.

In this article, we will share tips on how to ace your internship job interview. We'll also cover common interview questions you'll be asked and should ask. Let's get started!

Internship Interview Tips

Not sure where to start your interview preparation? Follow these tips, and, with a lot of practice, you can ace that interview and land the internship position you want!

✨ Research the job.

As with any type of interview, research is key. Review the job posting and description carefully. Note down any specific qualifications or experience that are required or nice to have. This will serve as the foundation for your answers to  internship interview questions and show your interviewer that you're truly committed to the interview.

✨ Use the STAR method.

Ever heard of the STAR method?  It's a great way to structure your answers to some of the most typical internship interview questions.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. To use it, simply describe a relevant situation, task, the actions you took, and the outcome. This framework helps you to share concise and clear stories that demonstrate your skills in the internship interview.

✨ Practice interview questions.

As mentioned, internship interviews are more likely to focus on your potential. This means that there may be a great deal of open-ended questions or situational questions. These types of questions require a lot of practice to answer confidently.

If it is your first internship interview and you get nervous easily, our tip is to ask a friend or family member to help you out. Prepare a list of questions beforehand (we will also share 10 common interview questions in the next section) and have them fire away at you. The key is to practice out loud until you sound confident and natural.

✨ Prepare a list of examples to talk about.

Concrete examples are crucial in internship interviews because they show the interviewer what you're capable of, with proof. We, thus, recommend preparing a list of examples to talk about.

The list should include all the projects you've worked on, both in and out of school. By answering interview questions strategically with examples, you may be able to guide the interviewers to ask questions about the topics you're most proud of and stand out.

✨ Dress to impress.

First impressions are key, and in an internship interview, you want to give off the best impression possible. This means that you should dress for the job you want.

This hugely depends on the company culture, so do your research. Suits, blazers and dresses are usually good options. But if you're interviewing for internships at a young startup, popping colors and fun prints might be a good idea, too.

Common Internship Interview Questions and Answers

There are a few key questions that you can expect to be asked in any internship interviews.

🔍 Strengths and Weaknesses Internship Interview Question and Example Answer

Question: "What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?"

For this type of internship interview question, you want to avoid sounding arrogant or self-deprecating. You also want to be genuine and avoid cliché answers like "I'm a perfectionist. " 

Example Answer: "I have always been told that I am a quick learner and a great team player. In the past, I've been able to quickly adapt to new situations and take on new responsibilities. As for weaknesses, I sometimes have trouble saying 'no' when I'm given too many tasks. I want to be a team player and contribute as much as possible, but sometimes this means that I overcommit myself. I'm working on learning to better manage my time and set priorities."

🔍 “What Do You Hope to Gain from This Experience” Internship Interview Question

Question: "What do you hope to accomplish as an intern here with us?"

Our tip for answering this type of internship interview question is to be honest about your long-term career goals, and how specific parts of this job can help you achieve that.

Example Answer: "This internship position offers a rare opportunity to work with a team of highly regarded professionals whom I’ll be able to learn from. In the job description, I saw that I would also have the opportunity to work on UX design projects. I'm hoping that through this internship, I can gain the skills and competencies that will help me become an experienced UX designer in 3 years."

🔍 Marketing Intern Interview Question and Answer

Question: "Are you familiar with our marketing campaigns? Are there particular campaigns that you remember?"

This interview question allows you to share your ideas and opinions on what you think works well. It also allows interviewers to see if you have done enough research on the company and its marketing campaigns.

Example Answer: "I loved the 'Be the _______' campaign that you guys did a few years ago. As a customer, I think it was a great success because it was very relatable. The creative team really captured the essence of the marketing message and it started a lot of conversations, and a campaign that generates awareness is a successful one."

🔍 HR Intern Interview Question and Answer

Question: "What makes a good HR professional?"

With this interview question, interviewers want to know if their future intern has done enough research on the field of HR. They also want to know if the qualities that the intern lists are in line with what they think are important for the role.

Example Answer: "I think a good HR professional is someone who is able to be both compassionate and firm. They need to be able to understand the needs of the employees, but also be able to make tough decisions when necessary. They should also have excellent communication skills and be able to build strong relationships with the team. I look forward to building these skills as an HR intern."

🔍 Finance Internship Interview Question and Answer

Question: "How do you stay knowledgeable with financial trends? What motivates you to do so?"

This is a common interview question for finance interns. It allows interviewers to gauge your interest and knowledge in the finance industry. It's also a great way for you to show that you are proactive, driven and resourceful.

Example Answer: "I use Flipboard and follow major financial news outlets, read several niche blogs on a daily basis and join discussion groups during weekends. I also run a Facebook page documenting my reading and my previous finance intern experience as a side project. 

This has allowed me to develop a small following of like-minded individuals who are also interested in finance, which motivates me more. By sharing articles and starting discussions on relevant topics, I've been able to expand my understanding of the industry and stay up-to-date on the latest news."

🔍 Accounting Internship Interview Question and Answer

Question: "Tell me about a relevant experience you had about working with numbers."

This question allows interviewers to know if you have essential skills for accounting interns.

Example Answer: "I worked as a freelancer for a company and was responsible for inputting large amounts of accounting data into a system for analysis later. I had to make sure that all the numbers were accurate and matched up with the documentation. I also ran reports on a weekly basis to track our progress and identify any discrepancies. Through this experience, I developed a keen eye for detail and I'm confident that I can succeed as an accounting intern."

🔍 Engineering Internship Interview Question and Answer

Question: "Why should we hire you as an engineering intern?"

This internship interview question allows interviewers to know if you have the qualities that they are looking for in an engineering intern. Highlighting your most relevant skills would be the best way to answer.

Example Answer: "My critical thinking skills and problem-solving capabilities are two of the things that make me stand out. In my previous internship, I was responsible for designing and conducting experiments. I was able to come up with new ideas and improve upon existing designs. I am also comfortable working with different software programs that are relevant to the engineering field."

🔍 Social Media Internship Interview Question and Answer

Question: "What is your favorite social media account? Why?"

This is a common internship interview question for social media internships that, if answered well, can show that you have a great understanding of social media and can be creative.

Example Answer: "My favorite social media account is the Instagram account of Axel Arigato, a minimalist shoe brand. I love how they are able to make their posts fun and engaging, while still being on-brand. They also have a great mix of photos and videos, which keeps people coming back for more. I aspire to be able to create content that is just as fun as a social media intern with you."

🔍 Business Development Internship Interview Question and Answer

Question: "Tell me about one time you failed to persuade someone. What would you have done differently?"

This is a common internship interview question for business development internships. The interviewer wants to know if you have the ability to learn from your failures and if you are able to take constructive criticism. Both are critical soft skills for this profession.

Example Answer: "I don't have work experience yet, but I have had the experience of failing to persuade people growing up. I remember one time when I was trying to convince my friend to come to see a movie with me that I really wanted to see. I kept bugging her and eventually, she got annoyed and said no and it affected our friendship. 

In hindsight, I should have given her some space and stopped talking about the movie. I should have also been more understanding of her feelings and needs. This was an event that impacted me and I was able to learn from it. I am confident that I am a better persuader now because of it."

🔍 Data Analyst Internship Interview Question and Answer

Question: "What is your favorite Excel function? How have you used it in the past?"

This question allows interviewers to know if you have any relevant experience working with numbers, which is an essential skill for data analyst interns.

Example Answer: "Definitely pivot tables. I have used it in the past to analyze data sets and look for trends. It is a great tool for quickly finding information that would otherwise be hidden in a large data set. I am confident that I can use this function to help you in your business as a data analyst intern. I'm also learning Python and SQL, two other programming languages that are relevant to data analysis." 

Questions to Ask in an Internship Interview

"Do you have any questions for us?"

Usually near the end of internship interviews, interviewers will give you a chance to ask them questions. Don't relax yet! Asking interviewers the right questions will take your job search process to the next step.

Some of the best questions to ask the interviewer during an internship interview are:

  • What are the expectations for this internship?
  • What are some projects I will be working on?
  • Who will I be working with the most?

When you prepare for questions to ask in an internship interview, the key is to think about what you want to get out of the internship. By asking questions, you can get a better sense of if the internship is a good fit for you.

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🔑 Key Takeaways:

We've covered internship interview questions you'll likely be asked and should ask. The key to success in an internship interview is preparation. Follow our tips, prepare your lists, and get enough practice. Also, remember to get a good night's sleep and eat well before your internship interview.

Good luck!

--- Originally written by Candy Ho ---


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