You’ve applied for an internship with one of your ideal companies. After waiting several weeks to hear back about the position, the hiring manager contacts you to ask you to come in for an interview. Congratulations! Now, what can you expect to be asked?
- “What do you wish to gain out of this internship?” – Asked at Citibank Singapore
- “How would you describe your work ethic?” – Asked at Discovery Communications
- “Why did you choose your major?” – Asked at Northwestern Mutual
- “What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?” – Asked at Southwest Airlines
- “What would your best friend/parents say about you?” – Asked at Keating Magee
In order to impress your interviewer, you need to have a clear idea of how you will answer each question. Here are some suggestions:
What do you wish to gain out of this internship?
There are many things you can gain from an internship: additional skills and education, networking opportunities, mentorship, etc. Don’t simply state, “I’m hoping to fulfill my requirement for my major.” Instead, tell the employer what you hope you’ll learn. Do you want to know more about the industry? The company? Do you hope you’ll refine your writing skills, learn a new technology, etc.?
How would you describe your work ethic?
Are you a hard worker? Responsible? How have others described your work ethic in the past? Obviously, answer this question as positively as possible. No employer will be impressed if you say you’re not motivated in school. Focus on positive aspects of your work ethic during the interview.
Why did you choose your major?
Your answer to this question should reflect your passion and interest in the field you chose. Avoid answering by saying something to the effect of, “My parents wanted me to major in [this field].” Instead, discuss what you enjoy about the industry you’re studying and why you could see yourself working in it.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
Although most of your hobbies might not relate to your chosen field, you might want to avoid answering with something completely unrelated, such as “playing video games,” or “watching television.” Think about the hobbies you have that do relate to the industry – for example, if you enjoy using social media and you’re vying for an internship position in public relations or marketing. You might also discuss how this hobby relates to your chosen field or how it helped you become interested in the industry.
What would your best friend/parents say about you?
More often than not, the observations others make about you have helped you find the career path you did. Have your parents always said that you have an attention to detail? Have your friends always been jealous of your superior writing skills? Share something positive that relates to your career or schoolwork in order to show the interviewer you’re a top candidate.