Questions You Might Be Asked at an Internship Interview

There is no definitive guide to interviewing. Some employers will ask the same exact set of questions to each candidate they interview to get a baseline of comparison.
Some will enter without any set questions and have an informal chat. It is important to realize that there is a certain amount of information that every potential employer will be seeking, while each question make take a different form. Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions, in their most common configurations:

Why do you want to work here?

From the internship level all the way up to management, this is the number one question that potential employers ask of recruits. Employers was to know that you have done your homework, are interested in the company as well as the industry, and have thought thoroughly about what it would be like to work at that particular office. To prepare for this question, gather as much information about the company or organization as you can, as well as information about what kinds of jobs and tasks the interns before you may have performed. Try to think of reasons that these would appeal to you, and don’t be afraid to inject some of your personal feelings about the job into your reasons. Make sure that your answer is as specific as possible; hiring managers hear many people talk about why they want to work in a particular position, and it is your job to make yourself stand out while being honest.

Please describe your strengths and/or weaknesses.

Viewed by many as one of the trickiest of interview questions (or rather, statements) the ability to describe yourself in terms of the job requirements can actually be the time in the interview when you can take a bit of control. It’s relatively easy to read off a list of attractive qualities for your strengths: hard-working, organized, great with computers. But it pays to add something personal to those strengths, particularly if you don’t have any work experience to back up your claims. You might want to look at the way you are in a class environment – are you the first to raise your hand? That may mean that you are willing to state your opinion, which many see as a strength. Do you carry a heavy load of writing and papers? You can say that you deadline driven and able to handle multiple tasks at once. As long as you are honest and positive in your answers, the employer will appreciate what you have to offer.

The idea of stating a weakness is slightly more precarious. Why would you want to tell your future employer that you even have a weakness? It’s because everyone has flaws, and admitting even one of them shows a self-awareness that is essential to working with any group of people. This doesn’t mean that you should say "I really like to take naps in the middle of the day" or "I tend to procrastinate". Think about what a previous employer or even a friend would say about you (you may even want to ask them) in terms of weaknesses. It is quite alright to present a weakness, such as taking on to much work, as long as you follow-up with how you have gone about trying to fix or remedy it. Employers will appreciate your candor, and will probably as for examples of a situation in which you showed one of your strengths and/or weaknesses.

Describe a scenario where you…

It has become much more common to as event specific question during an interview. These types of questions are generally meant to assess 1) how you perform under pressure and 2) how you get along with people. Every recruiter, hiring manager and supervisor will have a different scenario that they want you to describe. The actual description is not nearly as important as your ability to follow directions (make sure that your scenario really fits the question) and your ability to think quickly. To prepare yourself, think about what kinds of tasks you might be asked to perform, and what specific situation in your past might prepare you for that. Many questions will focus on challenges you’ve faced, either with work or with people, and employers often as about a time that you made a bad decision, didn’t get along with someone or were faced with adversity. Prepare an answer for each of those scenarios, being sure to end with how you made a difficult situation into a positive one.

There are obviously many more questions that employers will ask, but being well prepared for these common ones is your key to getting comfortable with answer questions and communicating effectively with what could be your future supervisor.


Job Interview Etiquette