The Internship Interview

If you have a great resume and cover letter, you’ll likely be put into the “top candidates” pile for consideration for an internship interview.

Most employers interview at least three people for an internship. If you get the call back, treat the internship interview as a job interview. This interview will determine whether you get the job or are passed up for another candidate. Although you should treat this interview as a typical job interview, there are some common differences between a job interview and an internship interview. Consider the following:

  • You want to talk about what you can bring to the table in terms of skills, but with an internship, you won’t be expected to have tons of experience. Instead, think about your past jobs and education, and think about how those things have prepared you in terms of general skills like leadership and organization.
  • Be prepared to talk about future career aspirations. The purpose of the internship is to prepare you for the job that you’ll have in the future. Think about what you hope to take away from the internship and how that will be able to help you.
  • Discuss your classes. The company hiring you for the internship will be interested to know how past college classes you’ve taken can benefit you at this job. Specifically, talk about classes relating heavily to your major.
  • Know your schedule. Often, you’ll have an internship along with other classes, and if the internship is unpaid, you might even have another job. In many cases, internships have flexible hours, but the more flexible you can be, the better. If at all possible, go to the interview with your schedule. If you don’t have that information for the upcoming semester yet, at least be able to give a general idea and a date when you will have your schedule set.
  • Bring along any forms your college will need to have filled out, along with internship requirements. Often, companies offer college internship positions to students from a number of colleges. It can help them make a decision if they know you’re prepared with the right information rather than having to ask you for it.

Dress professionally when you go to an interview, even if the work atmosphere is casual. In some cases, you can dress down a little if the work environment is extremely casual, but you should never wear jeans, t-shirts, or shorts to an interview. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.

It can help some people to go over common interview questions and answers the day before. Your student and career services office at your college will typically be able to help you in this department. If all else fails, ask a friend or family member to give you a mock interview in preparation.

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