Intern Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 23, 2022
Published June 21, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
An internship is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and network within your industry. Usually, to get an internship, you have an interview comprising a series of questions that test your technical knowledge and soft skills. During the interview, you need to provide impressive and high-quality responses to each question to get the internship. In this article, we discuss the essential skills to demonstrate in an intern interview, common intern interview questions, and sample answers to help you pass your interview.
Related: Interview Preparation Tips
What is an internship?
An internship refers to a short-term training program companies offer to help people gain work experience in a particular industry. This opportunity is usually available to students, although it's sometimes offered to recent graduates. Internships can be paid, unpaid or partially paid opportunities.
Essential skills to demonstrate in intern interview questions
Although companies only expect basic knowledge from interns, you need to show some essential skills in an intern interview. Here are some of the skills to demonstrate in an intern interview:
You need to have strong communication skills as an intern. This includes having excellent writing, reading, listening and speaking skills. This ensures that you can share your thoughts and ideas and understand instructions from other team members. These skills are essential in every role throughout your career, so it's beneficial to start developing them as early as possible.
Companies look for interns that can work as part of a team and contribute to company goals. You need excellent interpersonal skills to ensure you can interact with members of the organization. Related skills that influence your interpersonal skills include empathy, respect, and a positive attitude.
Time management skills
As an intern, you need to meet deadlines and deliver results. So, you need strong organizational and time management skills. You must be able to prioritize, schedule and focus on achieving tasks within their deadlines. You also need flexibility and multitasking skills to ensure you can deliver regardless of unplanned changes.
While an internship is a short-term position, it still comes with considerable responsibilities. Hiring managers look for interns with strong problem-solving skills who can accept responsibility and solve problems independently. Show that you can identify issues when they arise, analyze them, and solve them through critical thinking and creativity.
Ability to learn
An internship position is an opportunity to gain insight into how the industry works. Hiring managers look out for candidates that can use this opportunity to improve themselves. So, you must be ready and eager to learn new things from the internship.
Common interview questions for interns
Internship interview questions fall into three categories: general, experience, and in-depth questions. Your answers show hiring managers that you have the personality, drive and basic knowledge to contribute to the company. Here are some popular interview questions to expect during an internship interview:
These questions usually come at the beginning of the interview and highlight your personality traits. Usually, your responses to these questions determine the trajectory of your interview. Therefore, you must offer well-structured answers to ensure the interviewer gets a good first impression.
Here are some general questions you can expect during your internship interview:
Which of your strengths are most relevant to this internship position?
Tell us about one of your greatest achievements.
Why did you apply for this internship?
What measures do you take to ensure you meet deadlines?
What makes you stand out from other candidates?
What do you know about our organization?
Why did you decide to major in [your major] at university?
Describe yourself in five words.
How would your colleagues, friends, and family describe you?
Background and experience-specific questions
Even though you may not have extensive professional experience, you can draw on life experiences to answer these questions. You need to ensure you remember the key experiences listed on your resume and how they're relevant to the role. Ensure you provide concise answers and relate them to real-life experiences.
Here are some background and experience-specific questions that you can expect during your internship interview:
How do you handle working under pressure?
What was your most challenging school project, and how did you respond to the challenges?
What technical and soft skills do you have that make you believe you can contribute to the organization?
What are your long-term career goals?
How did you choose which post-secondary school to attend?
These questions allow you to provide comprehensive answers about why you're fit for the internship. Usually, these questions allow you to demonstrate your basic grasp of the technical skills you need for the role. They also help you establish your suitability for the workplace and adaptability to situations that might arise during the internship.
Here are some in-depth questions that you can expect during your internship interview:
Describe a time you had to resolve a conflict with a colleague or friend. How did you manage it, and what was the result?
Describe a time when your teamwork skills helped you succeed.
How would you react if you received a task that requires you to deliver within a short period?
Describe a time you needed to identify your goals and work towards achieving them. How did you go about it, and what was the result following this approach?
Describe how you interact with other team members and use your interpersonal skills.
Describe a time you multitasked successfully.
Intern interview questions with sample answers
When answering intern interview questions, you need to relate your answers to the role you're applying for. You can use the STAR interview technique to help offer a compelling and relatable answer. The STAR technique involves describing a situation, your task, your action, and the results.
Here are some intern interview questions and sample answers to help you prepare and impress hiring managers:
Why did you apply for this internship?
This question allows you to showcase your motivation for your internship application. You should demonstrate that you're passionate about the opportunity and that it fits into your long-term career goals.
Example: "I applied for this position because it allows me to advance my knowledge of web development and programming languages within a professional setting. Currently, I'm studying computer science while working with other talented minds to create functional products. I believe this internship is an opportunity for me to hone my skills for a future career in web development while contributing to your organization."
Describe a volunteer experience that has shaped your worldview. How will you apply it during this internship?
This allows you to demonstrate your transferrable skills and commitment to your community. You should discuss the impact of your volunteer activities on the community and yourself by identifying what you learned from them.
Example: "Over the last year, I volunteered at my community high school to teach passionate students about programming. This experience has helped me to develop my proficiency in programming languages such as Python and Java while improving my communication and interpersonal skills. I can bring my proficiency in these programming languages to help with the development of websites and web applications. I also now understand the importance of clear communication, which helps me relate better with other interns and workers within the organization."
Describe your coursework and how it aligns with the job description.
This intern interview question allows you to demonstrate specific coursework and its relevance to the internship position. You should focus on what you learned from a particular course and how it equips you with the technical skills to deliver on tasks during the internship.
Example: "One course that has increased my understanding of web development is database management systems. I learned the common methods of structuring files for various applications and using organization techniques to manage databases. Understanding these techniques ensures I can build web products and applications that interact with various databases smoothly. This knowledge applies to this internship because it will help me contribute to product designs through database management."
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