Fresh faced graduates and students alike all look towards internships as the first step out into the professional working world. Internships function as the perfect way to learn the ropes, get hands-on experience, and suss out how they feel about potential roles and industries. Apart from the practical training and its benefits, internships also help pad resumes and signal to future employers that you possess the necessary experience and skills. It’s no secret that employers prefer candidates with prior work experience, especially in the dynamic business climate of the 21st century. Internships really do matter.
With all that pressure, it stands to reason that candidates faced with an internship interview might face a certain degree of nerves. That goes double for younger candidates who might be interviewing for the first time ever in their lives. Fret not, remember that the interview process itself is not a witch hunt and the goal of interviewers is to learn a little more about potential employees. Put your best foot forward, armed with these practical tips, and we guarantee that your internship interviews will be a cinch.
Prior to stepping into that interview room, the main bulk of work constitutes doing your due diligence and thorough research about the company. Simply knowing more about the company indicates your active and vested interest in a future working with them, while providing context and insight into the type of questions that might be asked. Furthermore, based on the role you are interviewing for, knowing how you fit into the company will allow you to get a better sense of your roles and responsibilities.
When beginning research into the company, it is definitely important to first understand its business model and key products/services. Knowing how the business operates broadens the scope of research into understanding its market share, current challenges and opportunities, as well as its potential roadmap for growth. These data sets lend insight into helping you craft answers towards possible questions and formulate questions of your own, but more on that later.
Comfortably armed with the knowledge of the company and its relative information, the next move involves preparing for the interview itself and anticipating questions that the interviewers might field. Begin by finding some commonly asked internship interview questions and rehearsing responses that indicate your interest and preparation.
This preparation can even be distilled down to practicing your self-introduction and how you intend to provide information about yourself to interviewers. No doubt, interviewers are bound to ask questions about a candidate’s resume, which implies that you should also know your resume like the back of your hand.
Aside from the commonly asked internship interview questions, interviewers for highly coveted internships might stray off the beaten path and request information that requires a bit more introspection. Questions asking candidates to outline their strengths and give past examples of conflict resolution are not rare in the interview process.
Employers and interviewers are always on the lookout for prudent questions from candidates that indicate their interest. These questions signal to interviewers that the candidate has done his/her research and can foresee themselves in a position with the company. Questions also offer an opportunity for candidates to clarify and further ask more about the company, finding out information that might not be available on mainstream outlets. For example, questions such as how the candidate can add value and achieve the company’s goals, or clarification about a routine daily schedule are all music to the ears of interviewers. Do note that it is considered quite the faux-pas to ask about salary, benefits, or any time off prior to negotiating an employment contract. These questions tell the employer that your focus isn’t so much on the internship experience, but rather the material benefits that come from the job.
You might have heard the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” sometime in the past. We can surely attest to that being true. Looking professional doesn’t just show the interviewers that you’re taking the interview seriously, it also provides a psychological boost to confidence when you look your best.
Depending on the position and culture of the company you’re interviewing for, the appropriate dress code could range from business casual to business professional. Again, research plays a key part here and a good way to discern what the appropriate dress code is would be to read up about the company and get a sense of their core values via their webpage or even social media channels.
Prepare yourself adequately, dress the part, and be confident in the internship interview. These steps are sure to guarantee success during the internship interview process and help you start your professional career on a high note.
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