Holding an internship while in college is one of the best ways to work on your skills and get a great job once you graduate. One of the most important elements of the application process is often the interview! This can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with professional interviews.
Speaking with a potential internship employer is a bit different than interviewing for a job. Here are some internship interview tips to rock your interview and get your foot in the door at your dream company!
Before you get to the office, make sure you’ve done thorough research about the company, position, interviewer, and their internship program if applicable. You can even use LinkedIn to see if you have a connection with someone who interned at this company previously. Speak with them for tips or to learn as much about what they’re looking for as possible. Come in knowledgeable so you can be ready to discuss the position, not spend the whole time catching up.
Be sure to plan your outfit ahead of time, figure out how you’ll get there and where to park, and print extra copies of your resume as well.
Make a good first impression
The interview is all about making a good first impression. A good internship interview tip is to arrive early, be yourself, have a good handshake, and enter the room with confidence. You will want to appear poised, yet comfortable and relaxed during the interview.
Emphasize skills and accomplishments
Most likely, you won’t already have professional experience in your desired field. This is where you should emphasize your skills, accomplishments, and course work that compliments the position. Even seemingly unrelated jobs can showcase important skills, like communication, interpersonal, organization, strong analytical and problem solving, etc.
Provide examples of skills
Interviewers like to provide you with a situation, and let you describe how you would handle it. Preparing for these types of questions before the interview will provide a quick reference to previous relevant experiences. For example, describe a situation when a problem arose and how you handled it. Think about what skills you want to highlight, and know stories that underline them.
Make sure you understand the question
It’s perfectly alright to ask clarification questions to make sure you understand what the interviewer is asking. You want to know what the interviewer is looking for before you go ahead and assume that you have the right answer.
You can also answer the question, then ask if that was enough of an answer, or if they are looking for more information.
A common interview question is “what are your weaknesses?” Don’t use this to suddenly describe how messy and disorganized you are and how you can never turn anything in on time. Remember to focus on the positive, and recognize areas where you feel you need to improve and describe actions you have done to work on this skill. Specific examples can be helpful to illustrate your progress.
Bring samples of work
If you’re going into a position like design, art, or education, providing samples of your work will be helpful. If you need to bring a laptop or tablet that lets you showcase your portfolio, that’s appropriate.
Close with confidence
End the interview by asking for the job and leaving with confidence. Thank them for meeting with you, then ask when you can expect to hear from them. Don’t be too pushy, but be sure to use this time to express your interest again.
Thank you note
Send a thank you note to everyone you interviewed with. Use this opportunity to clarify something discussed, and reaffirm your interest in the position.
Follow these internship interview tips to go in with confidence! What are your interview tips for other students?