10 Tips To Excel in an Internship Interview

February 22, 2021

An internship interview is your chance to display your academic experience. You can also showcase the skills you gained when working with organizations on campus or part-time work experience inside or outside of school. Overall, you want to focus on making a great impression with the hiring manager to give yourself a chance of getting hired and adding the experience to your resume.

In this article, we talk about the importance of an internship interview and tips that can help you earn an internship that gives you exposure to a professional work environment.

Read more: 21 Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

What are internship interviews important?

Internship interviews can be the precursor to future positions that you may be eligible for. Let's review the reasons why internship interviews can be influential for your career path:

  • Gain industry insight. An internship interview gives you the full scope of the position you're working for a designated period. However, the hiring manager should go into detail about the position and how it benefits the rest of the company. By hearing your job responsibilities, you'll know about how employees within the industry operate and the expectation required for you to be successful during your time with the company. You may get a better idea if the industry is a long-term fit for your career if you're hired for it.

  • Increase your understanding of the interview process. This might be the first time that you're interviewing for an internship. Therefore, an internship interview provides you with more knowledge that you can use when interviewing for future positions.

    You'll get to reflect and analyze the type of questions asked by the interviewer, their responses to the questions they asked you and the vibe you received from speaking with them. Make sure to ask your friends and family members about their experiences when interviewing for an internship or their first job to acquire more knowledge going into the interview.

  • Establish a professional network. A good interview can lead to you getting hired for the internship. It can also put you on track to earning a full-time time position with the company if you perform well in this role. In this case, you'll have an increased chance to build a long-term relationship with your manager and coworkers. They will likely offer themselves as references if they were impressed with you which will accelerate your entry into your professional career.

  • It can boost your confidence. A quality performance during an internship interview can cultivate confidence that influences the decisions you make for your professional career. In other words, your success can motivate you to apply the success to a job interview for an entry-level position and beyond. Conduct a mock interview with a career counselor or your mentor, which can help you employ strategies that can use to answer questions about the position.

  • It can position you to earn a full-time position. Most entry-level employees had an internship position before earning a full-time job. An internship interview puts you in the position to get hired by a company that assists you in achieving your career goals. If you intern with a startup company, then you may have realized later that an interview with a corporation might have motivated you to work with a smaller company with a collaborative environment.

Read more: Choosing a Career Path in 9 Steps

10 tips to succeed in an internship interview

Showing up to the interview prepared and in a good head space can make all the difference in the impression you make, just as showing up without a good disposition and sense of the position can affect you negatively. Check out the comprehensive list of tips that can help you succeed during your internship interview:

  1. Prepare for the day of the interview.
  2. Establish a rapport with the hiring manager.
  3. Highlight relevant skills and milestones that apply to the position.
  4. Prepare for behavioral interview questions.
  5. Make sure that you have a complete understanding of the question.
  6. Shorten your responses unless asked to elaborate.
  7. Stay positive.
  8. Bring a physical portfolio of past work.
  9. Maintain your confidence.
  10. Send a thank you note following the interview.

1. Prepare for the day of the interview

If you're going to have a successful internship interview, you must be prepared for the full day of your interview. You'll need to select attire that matches the dress code provided by the employer. Additionally, you'll want to ensure that you have questions to ask the hiring manager to prove that you've studied the position. Make sure you bring multiple copies of your resume in case you interview with multiple interviewers in addition to a pen and a notepad to write down their responses.

2. Establish a rapport with the hiring manager

When you first walk into the workplace, you want to have a positive impact on the hiring manager. It's important to be authentic with your approach, but you should also be cognizant of your nonverbal gestures. A hiring manager can easily get a good impression with a solid handshake and direct eye contact. A relaxed tone of voice also goes a long way in having a successful interview.

3. Highlight relevant skills and milestones that apply to the position

Make a list of your accomplishments before you step into the interview. Your accomplishments differentiate you from other applicants interviewing for the same role, so you want to make it clear about the impact you've had with other organizations. You should convey how your accomplishments can be applied to their company. It's recommended that your communication, technical and organizational should be displayed as well.

4. Prepare for behavioral interview questions

Behavior interview questions contain a hypothetical scenario from the interviewer for you to answer. This is a test of your problem-solving skills. Your ability to solve problems shows if you're qualified to handle unexpected problems on the job. It's best if you answer these questions by tying in past experiences to work in varying circumstances. Study the most impactful experiences of your career leading up to the interview to answer behavioral interview questions effectively.

5. Make sure that you have a complete understanding of the question

You need to get a clear understanding of the interview question before answering it. The quality of your answer can be dictated by your listening skills and how measured your response is to that question. It's a good thing to ask for clarification because it's an indicator of your engagement with the interviewer.

6. Shorten your responses unless asked to elaborate

You want to evaluate the flow of the conversation you have with the interviewer. The interview is going to have a list of questions for you to answer. If they're going quickly, then you'll want to keep your answers short to accommodate them and show courtesy of the interview process.

7. Stay positive

Keep a positive demeanor when you're interviewing with the employer to show your willingness to work for the organization. Be sure to relay your responses back to your strengths, which can help you explain why you're a qualified candidate for the position. You should refer to your weaknesses as areas of improvement to exhibit that you're aiming to grow from this internship and help the company.

8. Bring a physical portfolio of past work

You should bring a physical portfolio of your work to show to your employer, especially if you apply for a creative internship. You can show classroom assignments, proof of volunteer opportunities and other assignments that can separate you from the rest of the competition. Explain the value of each experience and portray what you learned from it.

9. Maintain your confidence

The amount of confidence you display is a testament to your adaptability to workplace situations. Your actions influence the actions of the interviewer, but preparation builds your confidence while knowing the expectations on the day of the interview. Be sure to study the career path of the hiring manager and the internships they've held as it can be a topic of discussion that can cultivate a connection between both of you.

10. Send a thank you note following the interview

Remember to send a thank you note 24 to 48 hours after you speak with the hiring manager. Make sure that you reiterate your interest in the role and what you learned from the content of their responses to the questions you asked them.

Read more: How To Write a Thank You Letter for an Internship Interview (With Examples)


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