Internship Interview Questions

On Friday, October 4th, 2013

Internship Interview Questions


Internship is an extensive on-the-job training designed to offer the students with practical experience in their field of study. Internship jobs act as a bridge between the theoretical learning and actual work experience. It is a stepping stone for your future career goals. Thus, it becomes necessary that you do well in the interview in order to intern with your desired company.


Internship job interview questions are largely subject based and typically aim at testing your knowledge of the subject. Thus, be well prepared to answer all the questions related to your course, training, project, essays and the information you have mentioned in your resume.

Following are the typical interviewing questions that can be faced by a job intern.

  • Could you quickly give us an overview of your resume?
    Summarize your resume in 2-3 minutes. Cover all the major points mentioned, like your education, institutes in which you were trained, extracurricular activities etc. Make sure you summarize in an orderly manner. Follow a chronology of events as they appear in your resume.
  • Apart from what you have mentioned in the resume, can you tell us something more about yourself?
    Resume mostly covers your academic background and work experience, if any. To introduce something more about yourself, you can mention your interests, skills and a few examples that support your claims. However, do not overdo your explanations.
  • Why did you choose this particular subject for majors? What factors did you consider while opting for it?
    There has to be certain reasons why you chose to major in a particular subject. You can mention your interest in deepening your knowledge about that subject.
  • Can you tell us about your dissertation topic? How did you come to choose it? How did you prepare for it?
    Your dissertation topic is the main factor that will be discussed during your interview. Everything regarding your topic will be questioned. Thus, make sure you review your dissertation topic once again before appearing for the interview. Tell the interviewers about your research and findings, analysis of data, data compilation process, presentation etc.
  • Were you involved in any extracurricular activities? Can you explain us about them?
    Any activities that you were involved in, other than academics should be mentioned here. Your healthy participation in extracurricular activities highlights your all rounder personality.
  • How did you manage your academic work with the extracurricular activities?
    You have to say how you managed to balance your overall activities during your training. Provide an example when you had to give equal attention to your curricular studies and other activities.
  • Did you face any difficulties while researching for your dissertation topic? What were they and how did you overcome them?
    To answer this question, you can say that you had meticulously planned on how to research and had also anticipated the problem areas. Thus, it was easier for you to overcome the difficulties.
  • Give me an example when you had to complete a difficult assignment within a short period of time. 
    Your answer to this question will reflect your future performance as an intern. Working against tight deadlines and under constant pressure is a part and parcel of every company. How well you have coped with this earlier will predict your performance in the company.
  • Tell me about one positive and negative feedback that you received from your teacher.
    Receiving feedback is a learning process. Thus, when you mention your positive and negative feedback, do not forget to mention how this has helped you to avoid repeating your mistakes.
  • How do you think this internship will help you to achieve your career goals?
    You have to frame an answer for this question well before you appear for the interview. Review in what way the company will be advantageous to you in a long run. Also, think of the contributions you can make to the company. Thus, you can mention the mutual benefits of interning at this company.

Internship interview candidates usually lack professional work experience so you will find that more and more companies when interviewing interns will focus on the necessary competencies (also referred to as behaviors) for the internship position rather than on actual task experience. 

Based on the premise that past performance is the best predictor of future performance, the candidate is asked competency-based (or behavioral) questions that require them to provide specific examples of when they have previously demonstrated the required competency. The intern will be expected to answer using the following structure:

*Describe the specific situation or incident

*Detail the actions and steps taken

*Describe the outcome of these actions

The 5 most commonly explored competencies in the internship interview 

Experience has shown that these are the most common competencies for an internship position. The competency (behavior) is listed, an explanation given of what that competency looks like and a sample behavioral question given. Intern candidates can reflect on past experiences, select appropriate examples and plan their answers. Examples of possible situations are listed to guide the candidate in the internship interview

Learn and apply new information and skills: This competency involves assimilating and applying new data or tasks as quickly as possible. The motivation to learn and the resourcefulness used in acquiring new knowledge is explored.

“Give an example of when you were able to learn something complex in a relatively short period of time.” 

Examples of possible situations that can be referred to include undertaking a new project, a difficult assignment and learning a new skill.

Initiative: This competency involves the ability to be proactive, generate new ideas, come up with solutions and take on new opportunities.

“Describe a time you have had to meet a major challenge.” 

Possible situations include your course requirements, your extracurricular activities and sports participation

Problem analysis and Problem-solving: this involves the ability to gather, organize and analyze relevant data using different resources and use this to find an appropriate solution

“Describe a situation where your initial approach failed and you had to try something different to meet your result.”

Situations include undertaking projects and assignments, reaching goals and objectives in  work, sport and extracurricular activities.

Planning and Organizing: refers to the ability to plan ahead, set priorities and manage time and resources to achieve outcomes. 

“What goals have you set for yourself, what steps have you taken to stay on track?” 

Teamwork: be able to work effectively as part of a team or group to reach desired outcomes.

“Describe a group project you achieved successfully, what was your contribution?”

Possible situations include group assignments or projects, team sporting activities and community work.

The internship interview should be considered a regular employment interview and prepared for in the same way.

Any others? Add in the comments

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  1. Kenneth Ngondi says:

    I always find all your articles wonderful. I appreciate the tips, updates and the information you pass. Tomorrow I will be attending an internship interview and now I have an idea of what to expect. Kudos to the great minds behind this

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