An internship is a great way for undergraduates to gain real-world experience and develop new skills while still in university. However, getting an internship can be competitive, and the interview process can be daunting.
We asked our Communications and HR Manager, Michelle Low, to share some tips to help you ace your internship interview:
#1: Research, research, research
Before your interview, it is crucial to research the company you are applying to. This will help you understand their mission, values, and culture. Look at their website, social media accounts, and recent news articles to get a sense of what they do, who their customers are, and what their goals are.
You can also check employee reviews on websites like Glassdoor or better yet, reach out to their current and past interns for front-seat review. This will help you tailor your responses during the interview and show that you are genuinely interested in the company.
#2 Prepare for the predictable
Most internship interviews will include common questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why do you want to intern with us?”
The best way to prepare responses to these questions is to understand yourself and what you can bring to the table. So list out your strengths (e.g. “advanced Excel skills” or “willingness to learn”) with examples of how you applied these strengths in other situations. It’s always best if your strengths match up to what’s stated in the job description.
In terms of areas of development, do not be shy about admitting them. In fact, the interviewer will appreciate your honesty and self-awareness. But always add what you are to mitigate your weaknesses. For example, “I am weak at proofreading my own work so I try to finish it ahead of time and ask someone to help me with proofreading.”
#3 Show enthusiasm and energy
During the interview, show your interviewer that you’re excited about the opportunity to intern with their company. Smile, make eye contact, and speak with energy and enthusiasm. This will demonstrate that you’re passionate about the work you’ll be doing and will help you stand out from other candidates.
#4 Ask thoughtful questions
At the end of your interview, you will likely be asked if you have any questions. Use this opportunity to ask thoughtful questions about the company, the internship program, or the interviewer’s experience. This will show that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in the company.
For instance, “I read on your website that venture debt is not the same as revenue-based financing but I am not clear as when startups should pick one over the other.”
#5 Dress for success
First impressions matter, even in online interviews. Dress appropriately for the company culture and industry. If you are unsure of the dress code, it’s better to be overdressed. Don’t forget to check your lighting, background, and internet stability.
#6 Follow up with a thank-you
Send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview, reiterating your interest in the internship and thanking the interviewer for their time. And don’t forget to attach any documents as PDFs – viruses are a big no-no.
With these tips, you’re sure to ace your internship interview and take the first step toward an exciting and fulfilling career. Good luck!