If you’re a recent graduate struggling to find your first full-time job, you’re not alone. The job search is competitive regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, even on the internship circuit. Many times, recent grads may opt for a post-grad internship to gain more experience before officially entering their desired industry.
Internships are a good way to see if you like a company or industry, but also can be seen as an extended “trial period” or interview for a potential opening down the road. Securing an internship is still a process; from applying to interviewing, the journey may mimic that of a full-time position. Even if there is not an opportunity to join the company full-time at the end of the internship, you’re still expected to act as a contributing member of the team.
Before you can even consider being brought aboard full-time, you must pass the interview stage. The questions in an internship interview may vary from full-time position interviews. In an article for The Muse, Dana Hundley provides a few common questions you can expect during your internship interview. For the full article, click here.
Why are you interested in this internship/company/industry, and what skills or experiences do you hope to gain?
Internships are a great way to learn about a specific company/industry, and see if you can picture yourself working there. Sometimes your career goals may not align with the internship opportunity, but luckily this experience is only temporary so you can audible and figure out proper steps. If you’re asked this question during the interview, it is the employer’s way of gauging if this opportunity aligns with your goals.
Like most interview questions, there is often a right and wrong way you should answer them. According to Hundley, when answering this question, you want to show your enthusiasm for the position and that you have done your research on the company. Additionally, tell them what you want to gain from the experience. After all, an internship should be approached as a learning experience.
Tell us about a situation where you took initiative or took on a leadership role.
This question usually helps the interview gauge whether or not you are a motivated and driven individual. If you’re a student, chances are most of your leadership experience has come from playing sports or group projects. Both are viable options when it comes to answering this question.
Another way to answer it is with an example of a time when you noticed something that needed to change or could be done better, and you took the initiative to take action on it, mentions Hundley. This is a great way to show, not just tell the interviewer that you’re a go-getter.
Tell us about a time you had to learn something completely new.
In any opportunity, you likely won’t know everything that is thrown your way. How you approach the unknown can tell a lot about your willingness and openness to learn new skills. Hiring managers do not want to hire anyone, for a full-time position or an internship, who is not willing to learn. As mentioned before, internships are an opportunity to be a sponge and learn as much as you can during that time.
To answer this, it is perfectly acceptable to mention a class experience. Most classes you take during your college career must be taken because they’re required, not because you’re interested in the subject. Focus on a time where you were open minded when it came to a new class and what you learned from the experience.
Summer is a popular time for college students and post-grads alike to pursue internship opportunities. While these experiences are not limited to the just the summer, finding and securing an internship that fits your career goals is a competitive process. The interview phase may differ slightly from that of a full-time position, but it is still a time to showcase your experience and interests to a potential employer. To do so, there are some questions you can expect to be asked during the interview phase.