10 Questions to Ask in an Internship Interview
Land an awesome internship by asking a few good questions during your interview.
The competition for internships can be just as intense as for jobs. After all, there's a direct correlation between securing an internship and being offered a job. Knowing the right questions to ask in an internship interview can help demonstrate your enthusiasm to companies.
Interviewing for an internship is a little different than interviewing for a permanent job. However, they're similar in that the hiring manager will be expecting candidates to ask good questions. And we're not talking about "Is this a paid internship?" or "Will you hire me after the internship ends?" Those questions will get you nowhere.
The smart questions to ask in an internship interview will reflect your interest in the position, what you hope to gain from the experience, as well as the value you can bring to the company or organization. Read on to learn more.
Questions to Ask in an Internship Interview
- How Will You Evaluate My Performance?
- How Have You Managed Interns in the Past?
- What Will a Typical Workday Be Like?
- With Whom Will I Be Working?
- What Are Your Favorite Parts About Working Here?
- What Are Some of the Common Challenges Interns Usually Face in This Role/Company?
- Could You Tell Me More About the Company's…?
- How Often Do You Hire Interns for Full-Time Jobs?
- Ask One Question Based on Something Your Interviewer Said in the Interview
- What Comes Next?
1. How Will You Evaluate My Performance?
Another way to ask this question is "What does success look like in this role?" You obviously want to do a great job in every task you set out to tackle, but first you need a very clear understanding of what it is you're being brought in to do. Ask what tasks or skills you may be evaluated on, and who will be performing your evaluations. For instance, if you're interning in the human resources department at an advertising agency and you're given the task of updating the client database, don't be spending your time pitching campaign ideas to the art director.
Furthermore, expressing your interest in feedback will help show you're interested in learning, focused on professional growth, and willing to be taught.
2. How Have You Managed Interns in the Past?
Asking about the company's past experience with interns can help give you more information about what it will expect from you. Listen for talk of established procedures, rules, and so on. Ask what made past interns successful, and how you could best make a valuable contribution through your internship if chosen.
The questions will not only show that you view the internship as a way to develop your skills, but also help the company. Remember, although an internship is a learning opportunity for you, it's also important to demonstrate the value you could bring to the company. In addition, the answers you receive will help you figure out if the company sees the internship as an opportunity to help you develop your skills, or simply an opportunity to bring someone on to help with menial tasks.
3. What Will a Typical Workday Be Like?
One of the biggest internship stereotypes includes being asked to perform thankless grunt work day after day. You want to ensure that some of the tasks you'll be assigned are meant to help you build professional skills. This question can help uncover the answer, plus inform you about any scheduling expectations managers have for the position such as your office hours and breaks. Knowing from the start whether overtime or late nights at the office are expected can help you find a work environment that fits with your schedule and fosters your professional growth.
4. With Whom Will I Be Working?
In some organizations, interns are assigned to work for a specific person or department, while in others they're pooled together. In a pool situation, interns may not have a chance to establish a good relationship with a mentor or may only get a high-level view of the organization rather than a deeper dive into a specific function. On the other hand, groups of interns may be able to work on larger, higher-profile projects than individuals ones do.
As an intern, you should take full advantage of being in a professional environment. For a follow-up question, try asking, "What opportunities will there be for me to talk to and interact with people outside of my department?"
5. What Are Your Favorite Parts About Working Here?
In doing your homework on the company prior to the interview, you'll no doubt be looking into the company's culture. But websites and social media pages can only tell you so much. While many hiring managers like to tout their company culture—they value diversity, are committed to their employees' mental health, etc.—asking this question more or less forces the interviewer to pick specific qualities and expound on them. You'll get a much better indication of how sincere a company is about its mission and culture when it comes from the mouth of a current employee who's sitting right in front of you.
6. What Are Some of the Common Challenges Interns Usually Face in This Role/Company?
A company may or may not volunteer this information to you, so you want to make sure you ask for it. Maybe some interns have historically had a hard time managing their time or communicating with their manager. Maybe others underestimated (over overestimated) the amount of work that was being asked of them. By asking this question, you can prepare for the challenges and won't be caught off guard on the job.
7. Could You Tell Me More About the Company's...?
This is one of those questions to ask in an internship interview that demonstrates your engagement and desire to know more about the company. Try inquiring about news items related to the organization or requesting more details on the information you found on the company's website. You can also show your interest by asking questions about how the organization contributes to its industry and community, and how as an intern you will be working toward these causes.
8. How Often Do You Hire Interns for Full-Time Jobs?
Obviously, you want to find out whether the company considers interns as potential employees—but you want to do it tactfully. By phrasing the question this way, you express your interest in full-time work without sounding like you expect a job offer. Even if a job offer doesn't happen, you can still leverage your internship experience to help you get a great job.
9. Ask One Question Based on Something Your Interviewer Said in the Interview
This is a showstopper among all the other questions to ask in an internship interview. It shows you are paying attention, engaged, and capable of thinking on your feet. For example: "You mentioned earlier that you are in the early stages of expanding your audience in the UK and Europe. What are you doing in pursuit of that goal? I'm very interested in international business relations and would love to be a part of this project if possible."
10. What Happens Next?
Before you shake hands with the interviewer, thank them, and make your exit, you want to know what the next step in the hiring process is so you're not waiting around with your fingers crossed. Beyond getting that pivotal information, this question shows the company that you are someone who follows through. Always knowing the next step in a process is key to being successful.
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Get Ready for your Internship Interview
Now that you know the right questions to ask in an internship interview, it's time to find awesome opportunities. Ready to take the leap? Monster has lots of free resources that can make it happen. We can help you come across as polished and professional, even if you don't yet have years of workforce experience under your belt.