Interviewing

Internship Interviews

Preparing for the Interview
The Interview
After the Interview
Sample Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Sample Questions Asked by the Employer
Skill Clusters

Preparing For The Interview

Appearance

Plan and prepare in advance to ensure a professional appearance. Hair should be clean, neat and simply styled. Don’t neglect shoes and fingernails, and make sure your clothing is well pressed and well fitting. Dress professionally and when in doubt, err on the conservative side. Suits are safest for both men and women; although many employers do not expect intern applicants to own a full interview suit. For women, a tailored dress or skirt may be acceptable. For men, a shirt and tie are essential, but a coat and slacks may be sufficient.

Research the Company

Learn as much as you can about the organization with which you hope to intern. Some way to do this are to check the Internet; look for any information in the OCS or Pelletier libraries; check the local Chamber of Commerce; ask the organization to send you brochures or other information.

Assess Yourself

Identify your skills and strengths. Be ready to name them and support them with examples from work, school or extracurricular activities.

Know what you are interested in, what your goals are and how this internship will help you to reach them.

Practice Responding to Questions

Think about your education and the experiences listed on your resume and be prepared to talk about them articulately. Be ready to list your accomplishments and discuss special school projects and what you learned from them. Focus on the accomplishments and education which relate most to the internship to which you’re applying. Practice responding to the enclosed list of sample interview questions.

When you feel ready to answer questions, we encourage you to sign up for a practice interview with an OCS counselor. In this exercise, a practice interview is videotaped so you can see just how you present yourself. The counselor will also offer suggestions for any improvements in your presentation.

Prepare Learning Objectives

Think about what you hope to learn and accomplish through the internship. Be ready to talk about your learning objectives in specific terms.

Prepare Questions

The interviewer will expect you to demonstrate an intelligent interest in the internship by asking questions. Think about the aspects of the position or organization that you want to know more about. You may want to jot these questions down and glance at them before the interview. (See sample questions to ask employer.) Save questions about salary, food, parking, etc. for after the internship offer.

The Interview

  • BE ON TIME – arrive at least tem minutes early.
  • RELAX – try deep breathing for a few minutes before the interview.
  • BE YOURSELF – within the bounds of professional behavior, relax and let your personality show. If possible, establish a friendly rapport with the interviewer. Employers will hire people they like.
  • ATTITUDE – try to convey an attitude of respect without fear, self-confidence without cockiness. Be friendly, warm and interested.
  • EYE CONTACT – try to maintain eye contact whenever the interviewer addresses you, and for most of the time when you address her or him.
  • LISTEN – listen attentively, asking questions if you don’t understand a point.
  • ANSWER QUESTIONS DIRECTLY – avoid both one-word responses and long, rambling explanations. Give concise examples to illustrate your points.
  • BE POSITIVE – avoid giving any negative information about yourself or others. Try to phrase even negative responses positively. ie: “Have you taken any computer courses?” “No, but I’ve had the opportunity to use Word-Perfect and Excel on the computers at school.”
  • CLOSING THE INTERVIEW – let the interviewer know if you are interested in the position. Ask what the follow-up procedure will be and thank the interviewer for his/her time.

After the Interview

  • Write a follow-up letter thanking the interviewer and expressing your continuing interest in the company.
  • If you have not heard from the company within the indicated time period, you may telephone to ask about your status.

Sample Questions to Ask Interviewers

  1. Are there established tasks for this internship? What are they?
  2. What can I expect to learn through this position?
  3. How much feedback will I get?
  4. Who will be my supervisor?
  5. What is the work environment like?
  6. What kind of person are you seeking?
  7. Will there be an opportunity to observe other tasks?
  8. When may I expect to hear from you?

Sample Questions Asked By Employers

  1. Why do you want to do this internship?
  2. What do you hope to gain from this experience?
  3. Why did you choose our organization over others?
  4. What qualified you to work here?
  5. Tell me about yourself.
  6. What are your strengths?
  7. What are your weaknesses?
  8. Why did you choose Allegheny College
  9. Why did you choose your major?
  10. What classes do you enjoy the most? Why?
  11. What have you learned from participation in extra-curricular activities?
  12. What have you learned from your work experience.
  13. What are your professional goals?
  14. Give me an example of a problem you’ve encountered and how you solved it.
  15. Tell me about an instance in which you used creativity.

Skill Clusters

  1. Planning/Organizing/Executing
    • Generate ideas
    • Initiate projects
    • Identify problems and needs
    • Make and keep a schedule
    • Schedule/coordinate operations
    • Set realistic goals
    • Set priorities
    • Develop efficient systems
  2. Detail/Follow Through
    • Follow through on plans
    • Get projects done on time
    • Handle many tasks at once
    • Work under pressure
    • Accurate memory for details
    • Be orderly/organized
  3. Working with Numbers
    • Manage money
    • Keep financial records
    • Be exact and accurate
    • Develop and follow a budget
    • Prepare financial reports
    • Use math or statistics to solve problems
    • Use computers to calculate and analyze
  4. Research and Investigation
    • Identify appropriate information sources
    • Survey, interview, gather information
    • Organize information
    • Analyze information
  5. Communication
    • Speak effectively to individuals
    • Speak effectively to groups
    • Think on your feet
    • Persuade, convince, promote, sell
    • Define, explain, interpret
    • Translate/interpret languages
    • Summarize/write clearly and concisely
    • Use media to present ideas creatively
    • Teach/train
    • Critique, edit, proofread
    • Write creatively
  6. Interpersonal
    • Relate well to public
    • Listen/understand feelings of others
    • Work well on a team
    • Deal patiently with difficult people
    • Accept differing opinions
    • Express feelings appropriately
    • Advise/counsel/encourage
    • Use tact, diplomacy, discretion
  7. Leadership/Management
    • Take initiative
    • Work without supervision
    • Make decisions
    • Take risks
    • Organize others to achieve a goal
    • Supervise others
    • Mediate/negotiate
  8. Other
    • Knowledge of computer languages or software packages
    • Persistence