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Intern Interview Questions

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Interns are typically current college students, recent graduates or other people looking for exposure to a new career. Internships usually last a fixed period of time and may be paid or unpaid, depending on if the intern will be receiving college credit. Common intern duties and responsibilities include performing clerical tasks, doing research, creating presentations and shadowing employees.

When hiring an intern, look for ​​career goals that align with tasks the candidate is expected to accomplish, experience working in a team environment and a strong work ethic. Great candidates for your internship may also have transferable skills from college classes, community service or extracurricular activities.

Ask 5-10 of the following interview questions to get a better sense of a candidate’s skills and experience that may help them succeed in your intern role.


  1. Why did you choose to interview with this company for this position? See answer
  2. How do you plan to make an impact during your internship? See answer
  3. What do you expect to gain from this internship and what are your work expectations? See answer
  4. What are your plans after completing this internship and graduating from school? See answer
  5. Provide an example where you had to take the lead in a group setting to overcome an obstacle. See answer
  6. What skills do you have that will help you excel at this position and how do you plan to implement them? See answer
  7. What recent industry trends do you think are important to address and why? See answer
  8. Describe a time you had to learn how to perform a brand new task. See answer
  9. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
  10. Are you comfortable working under time pressure?
  11. How would your classmates describe you?
  12. Why did you choose the educational path you’ve selected?
  13. Do you enjoy working as part of a team?
  14. Describe a time you experienced conflict with a friend or a classmate. How did you handle it?
  15. What makes you the best candidate for the internship?
  16. How will this internship help you meet your long-term career goals?
  17. What software and programs are you comfortable using?
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8 Intern Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why did you choose to interview with this company for this position?

A:

The answer to this question reveals the candidate’s motivations for pursuing this internship position. It’s vital to understand what is motivating your applicants so you can determine if they are in for the long haul.

What to look for in an answer:

  • What motivates them to interview for the company
  • What they plan to learn as an intern
  • Growth potential

Example:


“I find that your company is innovative and values continuous learning, and my goal is to work in a forward-thinking company. Companies that consistently innovate often lead in their industries and constantly grow. I value continuous learning and want to grow as a prolific business leader with an innovator. I believe your company and this position can help me to achieve this.”

Q:

How do you plan to make an impact during your internship?

A:

The way candidates answer this question reveals whether they possess leadership skills. It’s crucial to understand if your interns have leadership skills because they are a core part of the business.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A broad overview of the impact
  • How the candidate plans to initiate the strategy to create impact
  • Tactics the candidate plans to use

Example:


“I plan to identify key areas of opportunities that can enhance the operational process. I’ll map out the necessary resources to achieve operational goals. I’ll also rally a team, delegate tasks, procure resources, identify key performance indicators and create a schedule to make sure that each tactic is being achieved in a timely manner.”

Q:

What do you expect to gain from this internship and what are your work expectations?

A:

The answer to this question reveals what your candidates expect to get out of this position and what they think the work will involve. This provides insight into whether you can fulfill the interviewee’s expectations so that neither of you wastes time.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Realistic goals
  • Goals the candidate expects to achieve
  • Whether goals align with tasks candidate is expected to accomplish

Example:


“My expectations involve being able to learn how to identify business problems, how to choose strategies to address these issues, and how to plan and execute the tactics needed to achieve these goals. By learning this, I can gain real-world experience of what it takes to drive business operations forward.”

Q:

What are your plans after completing this internship and graduating from school?

A:

The answer to this question demonstrates if your candidate has potential to work for your company long-term. It’s crucial to identify this because you are investing resources in the candidate and can save time hiring candidates who are already trained for the position.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Potential for continued work at the company
  • Application of learned skills
  • Where and how skills will be applied

Example:


“After this internship, I plan to complete my final semester in college and apply leadership, project management, communication and technical skills that I’ll gain in my academic, volunteer and extracurricular activities. My plans after graduation include pursuing a career as a business analyst for your company.”

Q:

Provide an example where you had to take the lead in a group setting to overcome an obstacle.

A:

Based on the candidates’ answers, you can gauge their problem-solving and collaborative skills. It’s important to understand if your interviewees possess problem-solving skills and can work in a team environment.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Results
  • Experience with working in a team environment
  • Thought process and experience for solving issues

Example:


“The pet shelter I volunteer at needed to reach new audiences and increase awareness of adoption opportunities. However, funds were limited. I rallied volunteers, identified that the shelter wasn’t using social media or posting frequent blog content, and mapped out a content and social media marketing plan that could be implemented within the budget using free marketing tools and platforms. As a result, awareness and adoptions increased by 10 percent within three months.”

Q:

What skills do you have that will help you excel at this position and how do you plan to implement them?

A:

The way candidates answer this question determines whether they have the skills to do the job. This is crucial so you can gauge how much training will be required for skills development and decide if the candidate is a good fit for the position.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Technical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills

Example:


“I have a variety of skills that I can use on the job, including public speaking, writing, planning, data analysis and leadership skills. I plan to apply my communication and technical skills in this position to lead team projects, research and solve business problems, identify trends and present findings.”

Q:

What recent industry trends do you think are important to address and why?

A:

The answer to this question helps you gauge the candidate’s research skills. It’s crucial that candidates are aware of what’s going on in the industry so they can make better business decisions, and research skills can help them identify these issues.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Threats and opportunities identified
  • New or innovative concepts
  • Methods of research

Example:


“I noticed that live-streaming is picking up as a way to engage audiences in business. Content marketing is a must nowadays for any business to generate leads, and live video content marketing can quickly demonstrate how to use a service or product to engage audiences with exclusive content. I believe this is an innovative opportunity your business can leverage to engage your audiences and generate leads.”

Q:

Describe a time you had to learn how to perform a brand new task.

A:

Interns often have very little workplace experience. Many are in college or newly graduated, so they should have experience in learning new concepts and skills from their time in school. Asking an intern candidate this question can show you how they approach problem solving, their comfort level with tasks outside their scope and their ability to ask for guidance when needed.

Look for a candidate response with these characteristics:

  • Interest in learning
  • Knowing when to ask for help
  • Process for dissecting a problem

A well-considered candidate response might sound like this example:

Example:

"I'd always had an interest in biology in high school, but it wasn't until I got to college that I really understood the research process. My first biology lab involved writing a thorough, highly-templated lab report that I was not familiar with at all. When I received the assignment, I closely read all the instructions. I went to my professor's office hours for clarity and asked to look at an example lab report.

Once I got the answers to my specific questions and saw how the formatting worked in a real world report, I felt ready to tackle my own lab report. I sought feedback from my peers during a study session, and we all worked together to ensure our reports matched the template. I find that asking for guidance and ensuring I have enough time to practice a new task helps me master it much more quickly than making a blind attempt."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021