Internship Interviews Dos and Don’ts

Acing an interview will get you one step closer to landing your dream internship. Here is what you should and should not do during your internship interview.

Do Plenty of Preparation

After you’ve set up a time for your interview, you should immediately start preparing. Begin by doing thorough research of the company. You probably already did some research when you were writing your cover letter, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little more. You may find out something new about the company, something you can bring up in your interview to show that you recently did research.

You should also spend some time rehearsing the answers to standard interview questions. A few common questions are:

  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What makes you a good fit for this position?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What will you gain from this internship?
  • What makes you unique from other candidates?
  • Give an example of a time you showed leadership.

Write out your answers to these questions, and rehearse them out loud. If you can, practice with a friend or family member. They’ll be able to give you feedback, and they’ll help you create thorough answers.

Don’t Dress too Casually

The outfit you choose for your interview should be business professional or business casual. For men, this means a suit and tie. For women, this means either a long skirt and a conservative blouse, or a pants suit. Choose your outfit a few days before the interview, and make sure that it fits well and looks professional.

Do Give yourself Plenty of Time

You should plan to arrive at the company at least ten minutes before your interview starts. This will give you time to find the interviewer’s office, and you will be able to sit and relax for a few minutes before the interview starts. The last thing you want to do is rush into your interviewer’s office, breathless and disheveled.

Don’t Just Summarize your Resume

When the interview starts, the interviewer will most likely ask you about a few of the jobs you listed on your resume. When you’re describing these jobs, don’t just repeat what’s on your resume. Instead, expand upon what you’ve written. Discuss your former jobs in-depth, and bring up relevant anecdotes that you didn’t have space to include on your resume.

Don’t Get Off-Topic

When you’re answering the interviewer’s questions, be careful not to go off-topic. When you’re nervous, it’s easy to start rambling and lose the thread of the answer. If you feel that happening, pause, take a deep breath, and get back to the question at hand.

Do Prepare Questions to Ask at the End of the Interview

The last question most interviewers will ask is, “Do you have any questions for me?” You should have a few well thought-out questions ready to go. These questions should show that you researched the company, and they should demonstrate your interest in the position. Try to have at least three questions prepared.

Don’t Forget to Send a Thank You Note

As soon as you get home from the interview, send off a thank you email. This should just be a quick email thanking the interviewer for their time. You can also briefly reiterate your skills and mention your enthusiasm for the position.

If you want to get a great internship, you have to give a great interview. When you prepare for your interview, give clear and concise answers, and ask questions, you’ll be on your way to getting that internship.

About Author: Piyush is founder and editor of EducareLab, a free online resource for high school and college students that covers topics ranging from career advice to test anxiety and outdoor adventure.