For many students, the interview is the most challenging part of the internship application process. However, the interview is also an opportunity to make a good first impression and learn more about the internship you’re considering. If you prepare for your interview properly, you can remain confident throughout the process and improve your chances of being selected.
So, how do you prepare for an internship interview? Start by reviewing the following questions, which are very commonly asked. As you review these questions, start formulating answers. Write answers down, revise them, and ask a mentor or peer for feedback.
Why are you interested in this internship?
The interviewer will want to know what drew you to this particular internship and what motivated you to apply. When you answer this question, you can talk about your interest in the particular field, but also be sure to talk about the future. Mention your long-term goals, and describe how you feel the internship can help you meet them.
Describe a situation in which you took on a leadership role.
Companies want to hire employees — even interns — who are not afraid to step up and lead. That makes this question a common and important one. In preparing for your interview, think back over various leadership experiences you’ve had as a student and NSCS member. Which one was most instrumental in your growth? Try to include some examples of ways you helped motivate team members, keep the group organized, and work towards a common goal.
NSCS Internship Programs
NSCS members have access to a wide variety of internships and externships through an extensive alumni network, industry partnerships, and internship programs. To learn more about becoming an NSCS member and the benefits of membership, visit info.nscs.org/internship-opportunities
What is one challenge you were able to overcome?
We learn the most by facing our challenges. In asking you to describe a challenge you overcame, the interviewer is looking for a few things. They want to know how you act when faced with adversity. They also want to know what skills you have to face challenges. When answering this question, try to include plenty of details about the steps you took, how you worked with a team, and what you learned in the process.
What is your biggest weakness?
Most of the interview is typically spent talking about your strengths, so this question can trip up a lot of candidates. Everyone has a weakness, and it is totally okay to admit it in this case. However, you should follow up by describing what you’re doing to overcome that weakness. For instance, you could answer the following:
“I struggle to seek help when I’m insure how to do something. I am trying to be more proactive about asking questions the moment I realize I’m unclear.”
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
You can look at this question as a chance to highlight an experience or accomplishment that has not yet come up in the interview. Or, if you feel you’ve already discussed your most important experiences, you can answer this question in a way that tells the interviewer a bit more about you as a person. For example, if you’re a serious tennis player, you could say,
“I am proud of my many academic accomplishments, but if I’m being honest, I am most proud of winning the 2020 Tennis Tournament with my team. We worked hard all season, and it paid off. I really learned how important persistence and teamwork are, both on and off the court.”
If you take the time to prepare, an internship interview does not have to be intimidating. Review the questions above, prepare good answers, and walk in there with your head held high. An internship is just the beginning of a successful career in your chosen field.