You applied to an internship and you moved onto the next step…the interview! This is a cause for both celebration and preparation. An interview can be daunting, but with the right steps, you can ease your nerves and shine in your interview.
Benefits of an Internship
Before diving into tips and tricks for a successful interview, it is important to remember the benefits an internship can have—both professionally and personally.
Explore and build a potential career
An internship gives you an opportunity to explore an industry that interests you. You’ll get a chance to see what a potential job may look like in this field and how that plays into your future. As you start building the skills, gaining the knowledge, and networking with professionals, the internship will also give you exposure to the type of work you will do in this occupation.
Build a professional network
An internship provides you with a golden opportunity to network with professionals in your industry of interest. They will learn more about you and connect with you personally, potentially improving your chances of attaining a full-time job at that particular company.
Develop relevant skills
When working at an internship, you will get a chance to develop professional skills that are relevant to the career you are pursuing. This can help build your resume and make you a more desirable candidate for a full-time position in any occupation that requires the same skills.
So, here is how to ace an internship interview for that dream job.
It is important to make sure you thoroughly research the company at which you are interviewing. Look into what the company mission, vision, and values are. Research their product and service offerings. Read the news articles in which the company has been featured. Follow the business on social media. This will also help you formulate questions to ask at the end of the interview. Along with this, make your research broader by looking at the industry in which the company resides. What are the major players, industry trends and innovations, and potential future growth in the market. To complement this, read the internship description again. Understand what will be expected of you in the role, and make sure you can attest to those requirements.
Review your personal information
Now that you have researched the company, it is also essential you “review yourself.” This will allow you to present yourself in a way that aligns you with the company, showing that you are the perfect fit! It is a good idea to review your resume—specifically how your experiences match the skills required for the role. Additionally, make sure you can intelligently speak on each bullet on your resume, as you may be asked to elaborate upon one during the interview.
Bring a few copies of your resume (3 is typically a good number) to the interview as well. It can help the interviewer follow along with your answers, and it looks professional.
Having interview techniques can help structure and strengthen your answers. Some common formats are the STAR and CAR methods.
STAR stands for Situation, Action, Task, Result.
The situation section should briefly describe the context behind the story or situation you are about to explain. The task portion of the response should concisely explain the task that you had to complete in this scenario. The action part ideally narrates the actions you took to complete the task, solve the problem, reach the final goal. It should be the bulk of the response, emphasizing your skills and character traits necessary to answer the question. Finally, the result section should highlight the outcome created from your actions. Quantifying your result is important. Along with this, you can mention some key takeaways from the overall experience.
CAR is another popular method to structure your answer. It stands for Challenge, Action, Result.
Prep answers to common questions
Many behavioral interviewers will ask similar questions. Preparing answers to these questions can help ease nerves and ensure you are highlighting the best aspects of yourself. Here are some commonly asked interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself?
- How did you hear about this position?
Don’t forget to use STAR or CAR format when answering these questions as well.
Find a trusted individual, preferably someone with industry experience, to ask you some mock questions. Preparing your answers out loud is much different than simply writing them down. It gives you a chance to see what may sound good in-person versus on-paper. Also, you will get constructive feedback that you can use to perfect your answers even further.
Arrive a little early
Being a few minutes early to the interview location makes a good impression and eases nerves, as it allows you to become familiar with the atmosphere.
Pay attention to appearances
Make sure you are following the company dress code for the interview. Business professional or business casual is typical; however, based on the company, it may vary. Along with this, it is essential you have good hygiene—it will make you feel more confident and presentable.
Focus on your non-verbal communication
Non-verbal presentation is equally as important as the content in your answers. Even if you know what you are going to say word-for-word, it is important to convey it with confidence. Your body language speaks volumes. Having good posture, speaking without hesitation, maintaining eye contact all exude confidence.
Ask thoughtful questions
Lastly, asking insightful and thoughtful questions are another great way to show just how prepared and interested you are in the role. Your research about the company may be useful here. Here is a list of some potential interview questions you can ask.
First of all, take a deep breath—you did it! Remember that you did your best no matter the outcome. Next, take the time to write a thank you note or email. It sends the message that you are highly dedicated to this role, giving a good impression.
Final Tips and Reminders
- Take deep breaths and stay calm throughout the interview
- Stay authentic and genuine. Let your personality shine when responding.
- Be an active listener. Make sure you are present and give the interviewer your full attention.
Now you have all the tools to ace the internship interview!