Ah, the internship. That glorious thing we all have to do to get “real-world experience.” That thing we have to take out loans for because the company is helping us out sooooo much that we weren’t expecting to get paid too, right?
Lol. I could rant about the topic of internships for a long time, but I won’t. Hopefully the internship you’re going for is paid. If not….I’m sorry. That sucks.
I have been to my fair share of internship interviews. I’ve had two internships now, so I believe I know a thing or two about how to impress your future employer and make them want to hire you. These are my tips for what to do before your interview. I will write another post on what to do during the interview, because that is a whole topic in and of itself. Without further ado, here are my tips for preparing for your internship interview!
How to Prepare For Your Internship Interview
First, you’re going to want to research the company. Look up its social media channels, check out its website and read any articles written about it. Make sure you know the company’s core values, what it strives for, where its strengths and weaknesses are, any current events surrounding the company, and where the company is trying to go in the future. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the company and know the basics.
Using this information, come up with a way to use the job you are applying for to improve the company. This might sound a little confusing, so let me explain. They are hiring interns for a reason. They want to give young people experience, but it’s more than that. They are looking for future employers. They want people who are innovative thinkers and will put in the effort to move the company forward. For example, I had an interview for a social media internship with an online home decor company. Before the interview, I looked it up online and noticed it had a large following on Instagram, but not Twitter or Facebook. Then, I came up with a couple of ideas I thought could help to bring that audience on Instagram to the other social media channels. During my interview I shared my ideas with them. I got the job. They told me they were impressed that I had not only researched the company, but found a weakness and came up with a solution for it.
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You’re also going to want to thoroughly review the job description. This sounds obvious, but there’s more to it than just looking it over. Companies use keywords in their job descriptions. They are looking for a certain type of person. Find the words they use to describe the ideal candidate, and slip those in when talking about yourself. Also, look over the qualifications. Make sure you mention that you can do all of those things. You want to seem as if you are the person who perfectly fits the description they are looking for. And, for a bonus, if you have a skill that the company listed as not required but appreciated, make sure you mention this. Since it’s not a required skill, a lot of other applicants won’t be able to say they can do it. But you can. This will really help to set you apart.
Come up with work-related stories that show leadership or special ability. Talking about yourself is fine, but that company is going to interview many people, and they are all going to talk about themselves. If the hiring manager asks applicants if they have ever held a leadership position, 99 percent of the interviewees will say yes. But, not many of them will have a specific memory they can bring up to explain how they have leadership potential. For example, maybe you lead a successful project at work. Talk about that. And, be specific. A lot of people blur the truth in interviews. The more specific you are, the more real it will seem. Make sure to go over these memories beforehand, so you don’t get flustered in the interview and forget.
You should also think of two to three questions you have about the job. At the end of every interview you ever have, the hiring manager will look at you and say, “Do you have any questions?” It’s important that you have a couple of thought-out questions to ask at this point. If you don’t, it might come off like you don’t have a serious interest in the job, or that you’re not excited about it. These don’t have to be revolutionary questions. But, put in a little effort to think of something to ask at the end of your interview. Here are some examples:
- Who will I be working with most?
- What type of hours will I be working?
- What can I do to help the company in this role?
- What is the first project I would be working on?
- What projects have people in this position before me worked on?
- What will my goals be in this position?
- Will there be any opportunity to come on full time after the internship is completed?
These questions don’t need to be life changing, but they should show your interest in working with the company and committing to its success. I hope these five tips helped you out, I will definitely be writing more posts about what to do during and after the internship interview as well!