How to Prepare for an Internship Interview (+ Tips & Strategies)
Internships provide valuable experience and can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door. In fact, internship experience is the key factor in tough hiring decisions. But before you can gain some internship experience, you first need to get the internship.
Internship interviews can make or break your chance to secure an internship. When you have an interview to prepare for, it’s normal to feel nervous about it and unsure about how to approach it. However, with the right strategies and mindset, you can go into your interview feeling confident and leave having impressed your interviewer.
In this guide, we’ll give you all of the advice and resources you need to grow your confidence and feel prepared for your upcoming internship interview. You will learn how to prepare for an internship interview and how to make sure your interview is successful.
How To Prepare For An Internship Interview
Landing an internship gives you the opportunity to gain valuable experience that will help you land your dream job. The interview is an important part of the process, and being well-prepared is a must. Whether you have plenty of previous interview experience or you need some help with basic interviewing practices, there’s plenty you can do to prepare.
Not only are internships excellent for those starting out in their careers, but they are also good opportunities for people planning on a career change. You might have interviewing experience from previous jobs, but it’s a good idea to refresh your knowledge and consider specifically how to interview for an internship.
Research The Company
The first step you can take when preparing for an interview is to research the company. This is something that you should also do when deciding whether to apply for the internship. If you are offered an interview, it’s your chance to do some more in-depth research and really get to know the company and what it stands for.
Start by looking at the company website and finding out about its history, mission, values, and culture. As well as giving you vital information about what the company does and why, it also gives you the chance to start thinking about how to align your interview with the company. For example, if you are asked why you want to intern at the company, you can discuss how your own values align with the company’s values.
When you’re looking for internships, it’s crucial to determine whether a company’s internships are paid. Paid internships are often more competitive than unpaid internships, but they ensure you’re compensated for your work. If applying for an unpaid internship, you need to consider how you will support yourself during this time.
You can find out more about companies away from their own websites, which will naturally be biased. Sites like Glassdoor or Indeed Company Pages will provide you with details such as reviews from employees and interview questions that are typically asked so you can do some further preparation.
Research The Job Description
Being familiar with the job description is important both for applying for an internship and preparing for an interview. You need to know what position you’re applying for, what responsibilities you will have, and what mentoring or guidance you might receive. Take the time to learn about what the position entails, both in general and at that specific company. You should also read the job description thoroughly to determine the skills and qualities required by your potential employer.
You can gather all of the essential information that you need for an interview ahead of time. Will the interview be a phone interview, a Zoom interview, or an interview in person? Each of these can require slightly different preparation and approaches. The job description will often say what type of interviews are offered or what the general application process looks like.
Prepare Your Resume And Cover Letter
When you send your resume and a cover letter to apply for an internship, you need to make sure they are tailored to the role. When you write these, continually refer to the job description and the information you have about the company. You should emphasize relevant experience and accomplishments, matching them to the requirements of the internship. You can even use similar language to the job description, which helps to highlight how you are a good match for the role.
Before sending your resume and cover letter with your application, check them for accuracy and clarity. It’s vital to proofread and edit everything if you want to make sure it all looks professional and gives a good impression.
Practice Common Internship Interview Questions
Interviews can seem like unknown territory, but there are plenty of common questions you can prepare to answer. Many interviewers will ask questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why do you want this internship?” so you can think about your answers in advance.
If you want to give better answers and improve your interview performance, consider using storytelling techniques. Interviewers will often expect specific examples to back up your claims, so prepare some different stories of times you have displayed certain skills or solved problems. Try practicing your responses with a friend or family member to get more comfortable with what you want to say.
First impressions count, and that includes how you dress. Before attending an interview, research the company’s dress code, if there is one. Choose appropriate attire for your internship interview so that you look and feel the part.
An interview is also your chance to ask the interviewer questions and check that the role is a good fit for you. By preparing a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company and internship, you can show that you’re enthusiastic and curious.
What To Do After An Internship Interview
Taking the right actions after an interview is also a key part of making a good impression. After your internship interview, send a thank-you email to the interviewer, thanking them for their time and reinforcing your interest in the internship. This keeps you in their mind and could also help to guarantee you receive valuable feedback, even if you ultimately don’t get the position.
Are you hoping to stand out at your next internship interview? Consider using the Briefcase Technique! It’s a strategy that entails developing a customized plan or proposal for the company, emphasizing your skills, and outlining how you can contribute to the organization. You can make it clear how you would be a good fit from the beginning of your application to increase your chance of securing an internship.
If you land an internship where you’ll be spending time working from home, it’s important to stay on task. Here are my favorite tips for increasing productivity while working remotely:
Additional Tips For A Successful Internship Interview
Getting some of the basics right can make all the difference when you are invited for an internship interview. Firstly, be sure to arrive early (but not too early) and treat everyone with courtesy and respect from the beginning. Try to get there around five to ten minutes early, or be ready and waiting if expecting a phone call or joining a Zoom call.
During the interview, make sure your phone is turned off and focus on the interview. Avoid getting distracted, and listen carefully to the questions. Be enthusiastic and confident when discussing the opportunity.
If you need more tips, check out this article about How to Get an Internship: 5 Tips for Standing Out.
Internship Sites & Job Boards
Before you can secure any internship interviews, you need to find the right positions. There are some great sites and job boards that will point you toward the best opportunities so that you can discover internships that work for you. Here are some of the top places that you can try when you’re looking for internships.
- LinkedIn – one of the biggest professional networking sites with a huge selection of jobs and internships. Users have the option of creating job alerts and submitting their applications online.
- Indeed – a well-known job board that collects job posts from various sources. It provides a thorough listing of internship and employment opportunities across numerous fields and regions.
- Glassdoor – a job and recruiting website that provides company ratings, salary information, and interview tips.
- Internships.com – as its name implies, Internships.com is a portal exclusively for internships, offering a sizable database of possibilities in numerous industries and locations.
- Handshake – a platform for jobs and internships created especially for college students and new grads. It provides customized employment suggestions, online job fairs, and on-campus hiring activities.
When you are well-prepared for your internship interview, you will have the confidence and knowledge to approach it in the right way. Take time to learn facts about the company, practice different interview questions, and build your confidence before your interview so that you’re ready to get that internship position.