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Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Questions to Ask at an Internship Interview

Tuesday | October 25, 2016 | by Kaitlin Ramby

A college student at an internship interview

Internships are important for international students because they offer real-world experience in a work environment and can potentially open doors to other internship and job opportunities.

Many students and young professionals make the mistake of thinking of an interview as an interrogation. Instead, an interview should be seen as more of a two-way conversation. Just like the employer will have questions for you, you should have questions prepared to ask the employer; doing so shows you have a genuine interest in the organization and the position.

Here are some effective questions to ask during your internship interview:

  1. What will my main responsibilities be?

    It is important to know whether the duties of the position align with what you want to focus on in your career. Do the responsibilities of this role benefit your short- and long-term career goals? Do you have the skill set this employer requires? If there is something particular you are looking to do in your role, it may be worth showing an interest and asking if it could be part of your responsibilities should you be offered the position.

  2. Is there a training program for interns?

    Asking this question will give you a better idea of what the first few weeks of your internship will be like. If a formal training or mentorship program is offered for new hires, great! If not, you will need to be ready to dive in and get quickly acclimated to the new work environment. You should also be prepared to ask plenty of questions about how things work at the company when you begin your internship.

  3. Who will I primarily be working with?

    This question will help you to know whether you will mostly be working alone or within in a team. If you are working alone, you will have to hold yourself accountable for deliverables. If you’re working within a team, knowing who you’re working with can help you understand how your responsibilities contribute to the bigger picture. In either case, be prepared to network and establish relationships with other professionals as they could benefit you later on.

  4. What are some of the expectations of this position?

    Knowing what is expected of you from day one will help you to prioritize tasks. It is always good to ask this question upfront so that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish when you begin the internship. Understanding expectations for the position can also help you to measure your progress, and even exceed expectations.

  5. Does this internship have the potential to turn into a full-time role?

    Many companies hire their interns full-time if they prove to be an asset. Asking if the internship could potentially turn into a full-time job also shows your long-term interest in the company.

  6. What are some of the challenges of this position?

    Asking this not only prepares you for obstacles you may face in the role, but also shows that you are not afraid to confront challenges head on. Employers may even mention things that past employees struggled with, providing insight on which mistakes to avoid. Also, knowing what the most difficult parts of the position are right away will help you to be more successful when you start.

  7. What qualities are important to be successful in this position?

    Again, this helps you to determine if the position aligns with your skills and strengths. For example, if the position requires you to work independently, but you prefer to work in a team, you may need to reconsider whether the position will give you the experience you are looking for. This question also shows the employer that you have a strong desire to perform well and go beyond what’s expected of you.

In addition to these key questions, you should also research the company you are interviewing with by looking at their social media profiles and reading the content on their website. Then, formulate unique questions based on that research.

Have you had experience with internship interviews and want to share your tips? We would love to hear them! Write your comments to us below.

Kaitlin Ramby

Kaitlin Ramby is the former Digital Content Producer and a Contributing Writer for World Education Services.