10 Ways to Nail Your Next Internship Interview
Each semester when finals quickly approach students, it also comes time to prepare for internship interviews! Having internship experience throughout college is vital in preparing for graduation and in some cases is even a graduation requirement! Holding an internship gives students an opportunity to learn from professionals in the field that we are interested in pursuing and is an opportunity to make mistakes and learn through hands-on learning experience, something school doesn’t always offer.
An extremely important skill that one needs to master throughout their collegiate years is how to apply the knowledge and experience we have in school appropriately and effectively in an interview setting. There are a few tips that every student should remember in order to confidently nail your next internship interview!
Do your research
Make sure to look at the details of the company you are applying to intern for. It’s important to know who this company is, why they are known in the community, and what their history is, so that you are well prepared when you walk in the door. A common interview question is simply, “What do you know about our company?”, so you better be prepared to answer this if you want to be an employee of their company!
Don’t try to be someone you’re not! Remember to always not only present your best professional self, but also stay true to your personality and values and let that shine through. It’s important for the company to tell if you’re a fit for the culture because this a defining factor of a strong team.
Answer the complete question
There will be a lot of questions discussed in an interview, and it is most important to answer the entire question, not just the areas that are relevant to you.
Be confident in your skills but don’t over-sell yourself
If you are unsure of something, ask them to clarify! It’s better to be transparent and honest than sell yourself on being able to do things you cannot accomplish. That could cause issues in the future when you can’t complete things you claimed to be prepared for.
Show, don’t tell
This is extremely important to remember! Give detailed examples of the skills you possess and practice talking about them. You may claim to be hardworking, goal-oriented, or a team- player, but unless you give examples, you don’t stand out above the rest of the individuals interviewing. Think of great examples in a story-like fashion and how you can present them creatively so that you can be memorable.
Have questions prepared for your interviewee's
Make sure that you have questions prepared at the end of the interview. This will ensure you look prepared, interested, and engaged by the end of your interview. You can ask questions like:
- Where do you see this company in the next 10 years?
- How have you grown personally through your experience here?
- What is the defining factor of a great intern?
Send a thank you note or a follow-up email
Always thank the interviewee via email or even a step further with a handwritten thank you note! This may seem over the top, but think of how many emails professionals get each day and think of all of the individuals that are interviewing for this one position. If you send a short, handwritten thank you note, it will go a long way and be sure to make an impact on the interviewee.
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. This is the time to invest in professional attire that makes you comfortable and confident! Remember to present your best self so that the company is confident in your ability to rise to the professional level even as a young college student. If you show up to an interview over-dressed, chances are you’re wearing the right thing. If you show up underdressed, they may be questioning your professionalism.
Ensure you have a great personal brand
This should go without saying, but in the digital age it is so important to present your best self online as well as in person. When you get a job or internship, your personal brand will now reflect the company's brand as well, which is why it’s important that you have a clean and professional online brand. Background checks exist and anything you think may be private, isn’t as private as you may think. If you have to question posting it on the internet, it’s probably a no.
Know your elevator pitch
This is a great skill to posses in order to be able to sell yourself in less than a minute! In an interview setting, the first question is usually something along the lines of “tell us about yourself.” This is where you’d dive into your elevator pitch. You never know who you are going to meet and where your “interview” may take place, even if it’s in an elevator. There are so many opportunities to network in college and you never know who you might meet that will connect you to a future job or internship. Be prepared, be confident, and be yourself!
The best thing to remember is to take a deep breath and relax because at the end of the day you are in college and every interview will prepare you to be better in the future! The more interviews you take on, the more comfortable you will get with talking about yourself and your experiences. Although your end goal should be to score a killer internship- every interview is practice for the next and will give you skills to be more equipped in the future!