The internship interview is both an opportunity to highlight your
suitability for the internship job and an opportunity for you to assess
if there is a good fit between the internship and your career and
Feel prepared and confident for your internship job search by anticipating the likely internship interview questions you will be asked. Answering these questions confidently and professionally ensures you stand out as an impressive internship job candidate.
Be ready for these 4 knowledge-based internship interview questions
Generally questions around the knowledge requirements for the internship
job can be answered by reviewing your internship resume as they refer directly to
your qualifications and training and whatever work experience you have.
These knowledge requirements will vary depending on the employer and the
type of internship you are looking at. However you can expect interview questions such as:
“Which of your courses or activities has helped prepare you for this internship?
“What is your dissertation about and how did you decide on the topic.”
“What factors did you consider when choosing your major?”
“Why did you choose the extracurricular activities you did?”
Behavioral internship interview questions and answers
Internship candidates generally lack professional experiences so internship interview questions will focus on the necessary competencies or behaviors for the position rather than work-related questions.
Based on the premise that your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance, you will be asked competency-based (behavioral) questions that require you to provide specific examples of when you have previously demonstrated that competency.
Reflect on your past experiences, select appropriate examples and plan your answers using the following STAR structure:
- Describe the specific situation you were involved in (ST)
- Detail the action and steps you took (A)
- Outline the results and outcome of your actions. What happened, what was accomplished, what did you learn? (R)
Expect internship interview questions that explore these key competencies required for an internship job.
“Give me an example of when you have done more than required in a course.”
“Describe a time you have had to overcome a major obstacle.”
“Tell me about a time that you improved on an established way of doing something.”
In your interview answer describe your ability to be
- to take imaginative steps to overcome obstacles
- generate new ideas
- take advantage of opportunities
- do more than required
you have no work experience to draw on, refer to your course, your
school activities and your extracurricular and sports participation to
find examples. Make sure the example clearly relates to the competency.
“Tell me about a situation where you had to do research and analyze the results for a complex assignment.”
What types of information did you use to choose your school, how did you evaluate it?”
“Describe a tough academic decision you had to make, how did you go about this?”
“Describe a situation where your initial approach failed and you had to try something different to meet your result.”
In your interview answer show your ability to gather relevant information and identify issues or problems. Describe how:
- you organized the information
- compared data from different sources
- considered alternatives
- identified the most appropriate course of action taking into consideration your resources and any constraints
Planning and Organizing
“Tell me about a time you had a particularly heavy course load, how did you manage your time?”
“Describe how you have balanced your academic work with your extracurricular activities.”
“What objectives have you set for this year, what steps have you taken to ensure that you are on track?”
In your interview answer
show your ability to:
- plan ahead
- determine priorities
- manage deadlines
Describe how you have effectively
managed competing priorities, multi-tasked and achieved the necessary
Learn and apply new information
The internship interview will explore your ability to learn quickly and willingly.
“Give an example of when you were able to learn something complex in a short period of time.”
Work as a member of a team
“Tell me about a situation when you had to work with other students to achieve an objective.”
“Give me an example of when you had to gain cooperation from someone who was being difficult.”
“Describe a group project of which you are particularly proud, what was your contribution?”
In your interview answer describe:
- how you have worked
effectively as part of a team or group to reach an objective
ability to respect the needs and demands of other team members and to
make a valuable contribution
If you have no work experience you
can refer to group assignments or projects, team sporting activities and
community work you may have been involved in.
The employer will also want to investigate your work standards during the internship interview. Expect questions like:
“Tell me about the course that has given you the most problems. How have you handled it?”
“As a student how did you define good performance? Give me an example of when you achieved this.”
For a comprehensive guide to mastering competency-based or behavioral questions go to the behavioral interview guide
The employer will explore your motivation for this internship.
“What do you expect or hope to gain from this internship?”
In your interview answer:
- focus on the skills you will learn and how they will benefit you going forward.
- explain the value of applying your theoretical knowledge in a real work situation
- highlight the job competencies you will develop and how you will implement these in your future career
Standard internship interview questions
interview will also include some standard job interview questions. View
these typical interview questions with sample answers by clicking on
job interview questions and answers
This interview is the final step to being accepted for your internship,
put the effort into preparing properly for it and you are on your way to
Internship interview tips
We answer your questions about internship job interviews at internship interview tips.
How to send the right message in your interview. Communication Tips
Find out how to reduce interview stress
How to dress for internship job interviews on a limited budget and with a limited working wardrobe.
You may be required to provide a character reference . Find out more at Sample Character Reference Letter
How to introduce yourself in an internship interview
Candidates often ask “How do you introduce yourself in an internship interview?” Follow these basic rules of the first introduction to get it right.
- Stand up when meeting the interviewer, make eye contact and firmly shake the interviewer’s hand
- Staying seated while shaking hands shows a lack of respect
- Greet the interviewer by name “I am pleased to meet you Mr Harris”
- Do not use first names unless the interviewer asks you to, keep it professional
Once the interview is under way the interviewer is likely to start the ball rolling by asking you “Tell me about yourself?”
You can find out how to respond properly and professionally to this question at Tell me about yourself
What questions should I ask the interviewer?
Have a list of good questions ready to ask in your internship interview.
“Could you describe the tasks and assignments I will be involved in?”
“Who are the people I will be working with?”
“Is there an orientation program in place?”
Go to the list of questions to ask the interviewer for examples of good questions to ask your interviewer.
After the internship interview
Use this sample internship interview thank you letter to follow up after the interview.
Readers also viewed…
Your Internship Job Application