There are many questions a potential employer can ask you during an internship phone interview. This process helps interviewers screen candidates and identify their skills, personality and qualifications before choosing who to meet in person. Exploring some of the common questions that interviewers ask can help you better prepare to answer them confidently and clearly. In this article, we discuss common internship phone interview questions and explore some sample questions and answers to help you get started preparing for your next phone interview.
Internship phone interview general questions
General questions help the interview understand who you are as a person, including some of your traits, interests and goals:
- Tell me a little about who you are.
- Do you prefer to work unstructured or with a plan?
- What are your biggest strengths?
- What features about this internship interested you?
- Do you prefer to work independently or with a team?
- How would your friends, family and colleagues describe you?
- Are you in school and if so, what is your major and why?
- What do you know about our company?
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- Where are your life goals for the next five years?
Internship phone interview questions about experience and background
Questions about your background or former experience can help an interviewer learn about your history and how it relates to the potential internship opportunity:
- Explain your work history.
- How can you apply your previous experience to this internship?
- What is your educational background?
- Did someone refer you to this internship, and, if so, who?
- Do you have unique skills that can benefit you in this internship?
- Do you have any certifications?
- Have you held an internship position before?
- What is your experience of interacting with customers or clients?
- Do you have experience working under tight deadlines?
- Do you plan to continue your education?
Related: The Top 50 Interview Questions
In-depth internship phone interview questions
These interview questions help the interviewer assess how you handle and deal with practical situations:
- Describe a situation where you had to make a tough decision.
- Give an example of a time when you had to take on the role of a leader.
- How do you set goals and complete them on time?
- Describe a time when you had to deal with a tense customer or client situation and how did you resolve it?
- Describe a time when you went above your duty to complete a project.
- How do you provide feedback and constructive criticism to teammates?
- Do you prefer to work with a team or independently, and why?
- Describe a time when you applied someone's criticism to improve your own work.
- Describe a time when you made a positive impact on someone in school or the workplace.
- In what type of work environment do you like to work?
6 internship phone interview questions with sample answers
The following are a few samples of how to answer internship phone interview questions:
1. Tell me about yourself.
Interviewers sometimes ask this question so they can learn more about your background. This is a broad question, so there are a variety of ways that you can answer it. Consider answering this question by providing some general information, like your name, age, where you grew up, career goals, hobbies, interests and your reasoning for pursuing the internship.
Example: "My name is Amara Wiley and I'm 19 years old. I attend Bethel Arts University and I'm majoring in architecture. I was born and raised in Courtland City, which is a small coastal town in New York. I love art and design and my dream is to become an architect and design buildings, but I'm also interested in civil engineering as well. Drawing a structure or building fascinates me, which is why I'm so thrilled about the opportunity to interview for this architecture internship."
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Interviewers ask this question to learn about how your strengths and weaknesses may affect your performance in the internship role. They may also use their answer to identify if you're self-aware and honest about your personal traits and performances. If you give a genuine and realistic response, it may improve their perception of you as a candidate.
Example: "I'd say my biggest strengths are my drawing and spatial awareness skills as an artist and my strong attention to detail. I am meticulous about what I draw and so I'm always reviewing my work to ensure that it meets my standards and the standards of my clients. My biggest weakness is that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I have a clear vision of what I'm drawing or designing and so I sometimes get so focused on my work that I neglect other priorities."
3. Give me an example of a time when you helped someone.
Interviewers may this question to determine your level of empathy. They may also ask this question if your role directly relates to helping others. Showing compassion for others when they are in difficult situations shows interviewers you can be reliable and compassionate to co-workers and customers or clients.
Example: "Since I started a year ago, I began freelancing by creating drafting architectural designs for clients and I often work with clients who aren't completely familiar with the design process. I had one client who was new in her position and was uncertain about what to ask of me. I reviewed her project notes and guidelines and then created a simplified template to help her understand what she was asking for and how I could assist her to get it done."
4. Describe a time when you had to settle a dispute with a co-worker.
Interviewers usually ask this question to help them determine your reaction to conflict and your compromise or resolution skills. It also allows them to assess your problem-solving skills and if you work well with others who have unique personality traits. Hiring managers sometimes look for answers that show control over emotions.
Example: "Before I started freelancing, I worked as a barista at a coffee shop and had a coworker who argued with many people on our staff and customers. I was not a manager or anyone in a leadership position, but one day I finally confronted him to talk about his behavior. I explained how the constant turmoil was unhealthy for the work environment, but I spoke to him calmly and with genuine concern so he wouldn't take any offense to my advice."
5. What do you know about our company?
Interviewers often ask this question because it helps them to gauge whether you've devoted some time to research the company. Hiring managers rarely expect someone to know everything about the company, but having some background knowledge may help improve your chances of securing the internship. Consider looking up some basic information prior to the interview, like the organization's mission statement and what services or products they provide.
Example: "I actually was familiar with your company because of my father. He worked as a civil engineer, which could explain from where some of my passion for architecture comes. He received your architecture catalogs because they helped to give him inspiration for his personal design work, so I've been familiar with this firm for many years. I recently saw that your organization ranked number one in the country for architectural design, which is an amazing accomplishment and makes me even more thrilled to have the opportunity to join this company."
6. Do you have any questions for me?
Interviewers ask this question to determine if you have any genuine interest in the role or to learn more about your expectations for a position. Employers may believe that a candidate that asks questions is enthusiastic about the position and sincerely wants to prepare for employment. It's also helpful to ask questions because you can gain some useful information about what the employer may expect of you. Here are some common questions to consider asking:
- What are the duties of this internship?
- What can I expect the day-to-day work to look like?
- Does this position require primarily group or independent work?
- Is there any opportunity for the internship to transition to full-time employment?
- What is the official length and schedule of this internship program?
- What is the weekly hourly commitment to this internship?