5 Common Internship Interview
Questions and Answers

With job competition high, preparing yourself for internship interview questions could turn what would be a quiet, awkward meeting into a memorable, instant-hire interview. Here are 5 common internship interview questions along with tips on how to answer them:

1) So, tell me about yourself?

The most common internship interview opening question. If you've ever heard of the "elevator speech", this is a perfect time to recite it. Your elevator speech is a 30 second overview of your professional, educational, and perhaps personal life. It's important to practice your elevator speech, but try your not to sound as if it were rehearsed 100 times when you finally execute it in the interview.

Fill the 30 seconds with your past achievements and your future goals. Tweak your future goals to the internship position your applying for. Make sure that your goals line up with the job. For example, if you're desire is to become a sales manager, your goals would be to learn and practice sales techniques and relationship building.

2) Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

Hiring managers that ask these types of internship interview questions want to know how you spend your free time. This question allows you to explain your involvement in any clubs, professional organizations, sports, or volunteer work that you are involved in. This question should be a piece of cake if you're an active student - just fire away at all the things you do after class or in the summer.

If you don't do much of anything extracurricular (or have NEVER done anything extracurricular) than this question can be tricky. If possible, be honest and answer as to why you aren't a part of any activities. Do you have a family, is your schedule swamped with other things, do you take too many classes, or do you have other hobbies that take your time?

3) Do you know who we are and what we do here?

This is a great chance to impress the hiring manager. When interviewing, you want to make it apparent that you are eager to work for the organization. This means that you should at the very LEAST, know what it is they actually do. This question is fairly easy - just Google the company and read their "about us" page. This should give you a basic rundown of how they operate, their history, and their corporate culture.

If possible, tell your interviewer what you like about the company. Ask them if your internship will allow you to get a glimpse at their *blank* feature. In fact, ask them any kind of deeper questions you were wondering about on the run their business.

4) Do you prefer to work independently or in a group?

This common internship interview question relates to how you get along with others and how you perceive the average person's work ethic. Now is not the time to bash any of your past co-workers, employers, or fellow students who worked with you on a project. The interviewer is more interested in finding someone personable that will "fit in" with the rest of their team.

Whether the internship position will have you working alone or not, it is in my opinion that you always extrapolate the reasoning you like to work with a team. Explain that the best ideas come from team environments and how projects are more productive with a well-formed, tight-knit group.

5) What would you say your biggest strengths and weaknesses are?

Many people HATE this interview question, so all the more reason to prepare for it. Be honest, but also be smart about your answer. Explaining your strengths should be a bit easier than weaknesses, considering you want to tell your interviewer all the good things about you, not the negative ones. However, do not take the question as an opening to brag.

Stating weaknesses isn't easy. At that moment it might feel more like an appointment with a psychologist than an internship interviewer. Don't state that you simply "do not have any weaknesses". Everyone has something about themselves that they are trying to work on. Poor study skills, organization, test-taking are common college student answers and are safe to expand on. Don't say anything that is related to work ethic, such as problems with punctuality, oversleeping, or drinking.

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