Top 5 Internship Interview Questions (And Powerful Sample Answers)

By Mike Simpson

Everyone knows that the best way to get the job of your dreams is to have as much experience as possible in related fields and have a resume that highlights and showcases that experience.

Of course, this is easy if you’ve been working in your chosen field for years, but what about people with little to no experience…people like students and recent college graduates? How do you make the leap from no experience to the right kind of experience?

An easy way to kickstart the process towards the job of your dreams is to begin with an internship.

But what exactly is an internship?

What Is An Internship?

By definition, an internship is an opportunity for a student or trainee to gain valuable career experience by working within an organization, either for pay or for educational credit…but they’re so much more than just that!

Internships are an excellent way for you to gain real word experience, network with potential future coworkers and managers, and are an excellent way for you to build your resume and ultimately help lay the groundwork you’ll need to build the future of your own career.

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On top of that, many hiring managers use internships as a great way to gauge employment potential. This means you want to make sure that you are ready to nail that internship interview process, score that invaluable experience, and lay the foundation for your chosen career!

Unfortunately, not all internships are legitimate, which is why, before we go much further, we’d like to remind you that you should do just as much research into a potential internship as you would into any job. Internships are meant to be first and foremost an educational experience, which means you should be actively engaged in tasks that are targeted towards helping you gain the experience you need in order to obtain a paying job in the near future.

Some internships have come under fire recently as a way for unscrupulous employers to maintain a staff of unpaid employees, which is why you should also make sure there is some sort of legal compensation for your work, be it either a fair wage or an exchange for school credit.

Doing your due diligence before you agree to an internship and making sure whoever you do your internship for is following all the specific conditions is just as important as making sure you’re properly prepared for your interview.

Now that those warnings are out of the way, let’s move forward with how you would prepare for a legitimate internship interview starting with five tried and true tips for answering internship interview questions.

Top 5 Internship Interview Question Tips

Here are our top 5 tips for preparing for an internship interview and how to answer internship interview questions:

1. STUDY GUIDE

As a student (or a recent student) this should be the easiest part of the whole process. Pretend your internship interview is a test (which, let’s be honest, it pretty much is.)

The best way to hit a home run with a test is to study ahead of time and the same holds true for an interview. That means making sure you have a proper resume prepared that highlights your related skills and education, as well as your accomplishments.

You also want to make sure you have done your research into the company, not only to verify that the internship being offered is legitimate, but also to make sure that the company and the opportunity align with your long-term goals.

2. S.T.A.R. STUDENT

Speaking of your education and accomplishments, make sure you are prepared to talk about them and have stories ready that will help illustrate your strengths as a potential intern.

Really read the requirements for the internship carefully and then go through your own personal experiences, education and skills and find examples that you can use from your own past that illustrate how you can fill those requirements. Highlight these both in your resume and the interview itself.

Don’t worry if you don’t have actual work experience to draw from when you highlight your answers with related stories. A hiring manager is going to know your actual work experience is going to be minimal. What you want to make sure you’re focusing on is any experience that is related to the skills and knowledge they’re asking about and making sure you are highlighting it all in the most positive way you can.

We have a great blog (or two) that cover the S.T.A.R. method in depth along with practice questions and answers and we strongly suggest you check it out before the big day!

3. HEAD OF THE CLASS

Make sure you’re ready to make a solid first impression by having business appropriate interview clothes ready to go, showing up early to your interview, and by being an enthusiastic participant in the interview process.

It takes just 60-seconds for a hiring manager to decide whether or not they’re interested in getting to know you further and showing up looking professional and serious with a firm handshake and a genuine smile is a great way to start a successful internship interview.

If you have question about what to wear to a job interview, check out our blog article on the topic here.

4. THE 3 R’S

(No, not the typical ‘reading, riting’ and ‘rithmitic’ r’s. We’re talking about rehearse, relax, and rhythm:)

  • Rehearse: This is perhaps the most important part of the 3 R’s for internship interviews! The best way to burn through interview nerves is to practice before the actual big day. We’re including a list of 5 practice questions you might encounter in an internship interview in this blog. Have a friend or a career guidance counselor at your school help you with a mock interview (or two) before the big day. A little rehearsal ahead of time can make a big difference when it comes to the real thing.
  • Relax: Make sure you’re paying attention during the interview. We get it, interviews can be nerve wracking and sometimes stress can make it hard to listen to those around us, even with rehearsal and mock interviews ahead of time! Do your best to wrangle those nerves and take the time to really hear what the interviewer is saying… You’ll get things during the interview like their names, informational tidbits they might pass along during casual conversation that could help you really target your answers, and most importantly, you want to make sure you’re really listening and paying attention to the interview questions they’re asking you so you can ensure you’re properly answering them.
  • Rhythm: When we say rhythm we’re not talking about music or dancing, but about the natural rhythm of conversation. Make sure when you’re giving your answers to the interview questions that you’re speaking clearly and calmly. Pausing between when the question is asked and starting your answer is ok, especially if it means you’re really thinking about the answer. An interviewer is going to be more impressed with an intern who takes a minute to gives a thoughtful answer than an intern who fires off a barrage of information before they’ve even had a chance to finish the question entirely.

5. TEACHER’S PET

Last impressions are just as important as first impressions. Remember as you’re wrapping up your interview to close it out on a strong note. This means making sure you’re asking your own questions (don’t worry, we’ll get to those in a bit).

You also want to thank the interviewer for their time and for the opportunity. Don’t forget to send a personal thank you note to your interviewer within a day or two of your interview summarizing key points you discussed as well as any follow up information you might not have passed on during your interview. Finally, tell them once again just how much you appreciated their time.

Now let’s focus on the potential questions you might be asked in an internship interview. Be prepared for a wide range of types of questions, ranging from behavioral to traditional and even some situational questions. We highlight each of these different types of questions in our blog and strongly suggest you review each one to get a feel for how best to answer them.

For the sake of this blog, however, we’ll be looking at five internship specific questions you may be asked. We’ll also give you example answers you can use to help guide your own answers.

5 Common Internship Interview Questions (And Answers)

Here are five internship interview questions that you might face along with a great example answer for each question:

1. Why are you applying for this internship?

Hopefully this is a question you’ve asked yourself long before you started the actual internship application process and before you ever agreed to an internship interview.

An internship is an amazing opportunity to get hands on experience in your chosen field, network with peers, meet people who might be invaluable mentors and guides and ultimately might lead to a permanent paying position. Of course, if the internship has absolutely zero to do with your ultimate goals in life, then you’re not just wasting your time, you’re potentially