An internship is a temporary work experience provided by companies and organizations, typically for students or career changers. It allows individuals to gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields.
During an internship interview, there are certain questions that can be beneficial to ask. This article will discuss those important questions to consider.
Table of Contents
- Role Details and Expectations
- 1. What will my day-to-day responsibilities be?
- 2. Can you share some examples of projects that I might be working on?
- 3. What skills or qualities do you think would make a candidate successful in this role?
- 4. How do you support professional development and learning for interns?
- 5. What do you hope an intern will contribute to the team?
- 6. What is the work culture like here?
- 7. How will my performance be evaluated?
- 8. What is the company’s approach to sustainability?
- 9. How does this position interact with other departments within the company?
- 10. What types of industry events or professional development opportunities does the company offer to interns?
- 11. What is the most important thing you think an intern should know before starting here?
- 12. What support structures are in place to assist interns with their tasks and responsibilities?
- 13. What characteristics do you look for in potential full-time hires from the intern pool?
- 13. What is the company’s policy on work flexibility, such as remote work?
- 14. What are the next big projects or goals for the team I would be joining?
- 15. What does the path from intern to full-time employee look like at this company?
- 16. What can I do to exceed your expectations in this role?
- 17 . What is the most challenging part of the job for most people?
- 18. What opportunities will I have to work with senior leadership?
- 19. How does the company’s management style operate?
- 20. Can you tell me about a time when an intern made a significant impact on a project or within the team?
- 21. What are the performance expectations for this position over the first three months?
- 22. What is the most significant current challenge for the team or company, and how could I contribute to overcoming it?
- 23. If I were hired, how can I contribute to the company’s mission and goals?
- 24. What have interns in this position gone on to do?
- Company Policies and Benefits
- 25. Are there opportunities for full-time employment after the internship?
- 26. What is the company’s policy on intern compensation and benefits?
- 27. What is the company’s approach to work-life balance?
- 28. How does the company recognize and reward the accomplishments of its employees, including interns?
- 29. What resources are available for learning and development?
- Feedback and Inclusion
- 30. How does the company incorporate feedback from employees or interns?
- 31. Who would be my mentor during the internship, and how often would we meet?
- 32. How do you incorporate diversity and inclusion in your team?
- 33. What steps has the company taken to embrace diversity and inclusion?
- 34. How does the company handle constructive criticism and ideas from staff, including interns?
- 35. How does the company handle setbacks and failure?
- 36. How often would I receive feedback on my performance, and from whom?
- Company Culture and Vision
- 37. What does the company’s vision for the next five years look like?
- 38. Can you tell me about any exciting projects or developments coming up in the company?
- 39. What is one challenge the company/department faced recently, and how was it resolved?
- 40. What social opportunities are available for interns?
- 41. What’s the best piece of advice you have for an intern like me?
- 42. How is the balance between team collaboration and individual work in this role?
- 43. What is the most fulfilling project that you’ve worked on at this company?
- 44. What does the company do to create a sense of community among the employees?
- 45. How will the skills I acquire during this internship benefit me in my future career?
- 46. How has the company’s vision or mission evolved over the years?
- 47. What is the best part about the company culture here?
- 48. What is the company’s approach to innovation and staying ahead of the competition?
- 49. Can you tell me more about the team I will be working with?
- 50. What does the company value most in its employees?
- 51. Can you share some examples of the most and least desirable aspects of the company’s culture?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How should I conclude my list of questions during the internship interview?
- How many questions should I ask during the interview?
- What if my prepared questions get answered during the interview? Should I still ask them?
- What can I do if my interviewer seems reluctant to answer my questions?
- What if my question is regarding a topic their website or other materials do not cover?
- What if I don’t have any questions?
Role Details and Expectations
1. What will my day-to-day responsibilities be?
Understanding the day-to-day tasks provides a realistic perspective on what the job entails. The answer to this question will help you assess whether you are well-suited to the role and can handle the responsibilities it involves.
This question aims to give you a practical understanding of how you will contribute to the company. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing internship, a possible project could be developing a social media campaign.
Fact: Gaining exposure to real-world projects during an internship is a proven way to enhance career readiness.
3. What skills or qualities do you think would make a candidate successful in this role?
This question helps you gauge what the company values in an intern. For instance, they might value creativity, initiative, or problem-solving skills. Knowing this can help you demonstrate these skills throughout your internship.
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”– Lou Holtz
4. How do you support professional development and learning for interns?
Professional development and continuous learning are critical aspects of any role. You might ask this question to find out if the company offers workshops, online courses, or mentorship programs to support intern development.
5. What do you hope an intern will contribute to the team?
This question helps clarify the company’s expectations. If the answer aligns with your skillset, it shows a good fit.
Example: If you're adept at data analysis, and the company hopes an intern will contribute to data-driven projects, that's a promising sign.
6. What is the work culture like here?
Work culture greatly affects job satisfaction. Asking about the work culture gives you an idea of the working environment and helps you decide whether it aligns with your expectations.
Tip: Look for signs of a positive work culture, such as teamwork, flexibility, and open communication.
7. How will my performance be evaluated?
Understanding how your work will be assessed can help you focus your efforts and excel in areas that matter most to the company. If, for instance, the company values innovation and measures performance based on new ideas generated, you can focus on brainstorming sessions.
8. What is the company’s approach to sustainability?
Increasingly, companies are recognizing the importance of sustainability. Understanding the company’s approach to environmental and social issues can help you align your values with those of the company.
A Nielsen survey revealed that 81% of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment.
9. How does this position interact with other departments within the company?
Knowing how your role interacts with other departments gives a sense of the collaborative nature of the role. If your role involves frequent interaction with the sales department, for instance, this could mean you’ll learn about the sales process and customer interactions.
10. What types of industry events or professional development opportunities does the company offer to interns?
This question helps understand the company’s dedication to continuous learning. Attending industry events can be a great way to network and stay updated with the latest trends.
Fact: Networking can result in job opportunities. According to LinkedIn, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.
11. What is the most important thing you think an intern should know before starting here?
The answer to this question can provide valuable insights and help you better prepare for the internship. An important thing could be understanding the company’s core values or learning its key products or services in advance.
12. What support structures are in place to assist interns with their tasks and responsibilities?
Understanding what support is available can provide reassurance and help you perform better. This might include access to resources, training, or designated people to answer your queries.
13. What characteristics do you look for in potential full-time hires from the intern pool?
This question can help guide your performance during the internship, especially if you’re hoping to land a full-time role. For example, if they value leadership, you might seek opportunities to lead a small project or task.
13. What is the company’s policy on work flexibility, such as remote work?
As work trends evolve, flexibility in terms of remote work or flexible hours is an important factor for many employees.
Fact: According to a Gartner survey, 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time even post-pandemic.
14. What are the next big projects or goals for the team I would be joining?
Knowing the team’s future goals can help you understand your potential contributions. If the team’s upcoming project involves creating a digital marketing strategy and you’re interested in this area, you’ll likely find the internship rewarding.
15. What does the path from intern to full-time employee look like at this company?
Understanding this path can help you set your expectations and goals for the internship. It also indicates the company’s approach to talent development and internal promotion.
16. What can I do to exceed your expectations in this role?
This question demonstrates your ambition to not just meet but exceed expectations. The response can guide your approach to the internship.
Example: If they emphasize on proactivity, take the initiative to propose new ideas or volunteer for tasks.
17 . What is the most challenging part of the job for most people?
Understanding potential challenges can help you prepare and develop strategies to overcome them. For instance, if the most challenging part is managing multiple projects simultaneously, you can plan to improve your multitasking and organizational skills.
18. What opportunities will I have to work with senior leadership?
Working with senior leadership can be a significant learning experience. Opportunities may include attending meetings with them or collaborating on projects.
19. How does the company’s management style operate?
Knowing the management style can help you adjust and perform your best. If the style is more collaborative, you may have more opportunities to contribute ideas. If it’s more directive, you’ll likely have more guidance.
20. Can you tell me about a time when an intern made a significant impact on a project or within the team?
The impact of an intern can range from developing a new process that increases productivity to offering a fresh perspective that resolves a longstanding issue.
For instance, Wolf Cukier, who was an intern at NASA, discovered a planet 1,300 light-years away on his third day of internship. He says,
“I was searching for a planet that orbits two stars”.
This is a clear demonstration of what curiosity and determination can do.
21. What are the performance expectations for this position over the first three months?
Knowing in advance what will be expected of you can help you hit the ground running in a new role.
For instance, some companies might expect you to learn their systems and processes within the first month, start working on projects in the second, and then be able to work independently by the end of the third month. Understanding expectations is the first step towards that successful path.
22. What is the most significant current challenge for the team or company, and how could I contribute to overcoming it?
This question showcases your proactive thinking and willingness to be part of the solution. Depending on the company and the role, the challenges could range from technical problems to be solved, process inefficiencies to be fixed, or new products to be launched.
“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” – Napoleon Hill.
Be the one to find those opportunities in the face of challenges.
23. If I were hired, how can I contribute to the company’s mission and goals?
Knowing the company’s mission and goals can help you align your own actions and priorities with them. Once you know what the company is aiming for, you can brainstorm ways in which you can contribute.
Perhaps you can bring in fresh marketing strategies to broaden their customer reach, or you might offer technical prowess that can streamline their processes.
24. What have interns in this position gone on to do?
Understanding the potential paths of growth that past interns have taken gives you an idea of the opportunities that this role could provide. For example, some interns may have gone on to secure full-time roles within the company, while others might have gained invaluable experience that led them to exciting opportunities in other companies.
This information can help you create a roadmap for your career growth.
Trivia: Steven Spielberg started his career as an unpaid intern at Universal Studios, proving internships can indeed lead to remarkable professional achievements. Make the most of your internship.
Company Policies and Benefits
25. Are there opportunities for full-time employment after the internship?
It’s really important to consider the chance of an internship leading to a full-time job when planning your career.
Many companies view internships not just as temporary jobs. They see them as an opportunity to train up-and-coming talent and to see if interns have what it takes to be fit for the organization in the long run. In essence, post-internship, numerous businesses present opportunities for interns to step into full-time roles.
Fact: As per a 2019 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), more than half (56.1%) of 2018 graduates transitioned from intern roles to full-time employees.
26. What is the company’s policy on intern compensation and benefits?
While internships are often about gaining experience, it’s important to understand any financial benefits. The company might offer a stipend, cover travel expenses, or provide meals.
Fact: Glassdoor reports that the national average salary for an Internship is $40,971 per year in the United States.
27. What is the company’s approach to work-life balance?
Understanding the company’s view on work-life balance can help you gauge if the company culture is a good fit for you. Companies might show their commitment to work-life balance through policies like flexible hours or wellness programs.
28. How does the company recognize and reward the accomplishments of its employees, including interns?
Employee recognition is a key factor in maintaining motivation and productivity levels. Some companies implement recognition initiatives such as “Employee of the Month” programs, where outstanding performance is highlighted and rewarded.
Other companies may have a reward system in place where employees earn points for achieving certain milestones, which can be redeemed for various rewards like additional vacation days or gift cards.
From casual “shout-outs” in team meetings to more formal recognition in company-wide newsletters, different companies use different tactics.
29. What resources are available for learning and development?
Your desire to continually learn and grow can be satisfied if a company promotes professional development. This could involve various resources, such as internal training programs, mentorship programs, and even a budget for external courses and certifications.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do“. Leverage available resources to test your limits and expand your skills.
Feedback and Inclusion
30. How does the company incorporate feedback from employees or interns?
A company’s openness to feedback is indicative of a positive and inclusive work culture. Whether it’s through surveys, suggestion boxes, or open-door policies, companies that value feedback tend to be more innovative and employee-centric.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”– Bill Gates
31. Who would be my mentor during the internship, and how often would we meet?
Regular meetings with a mentor provide valuable guidance and feedback. A good mentor can significantly enhance your internship experience.
A Deloitte study found that among millennials, “those intending to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%)“.
32. How do you incorporate diversity and inclusion in your team?
A diverse and inclusive team often results in a more innovative and effective workforce.
Tip: Watch for concrete strategies, like diverse hiring practices or inclusive culture initiatives, that show the company's commitment to diversity.
33. What steps has the company taken to embrace diversity and inclusion?
Knowing the actions taken can give you a sense of how committed the company is to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Actions can range from diversity training programs to inclusive hiring practices.
34. How does the company handle constructive criticism and ideas from staff, including interns?
A company’s response to criticism is a key indicator of its culture. Companies that welcome feedback typically foster a more open and innovative environment.
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Ken Blanchard
35. How does the company handle setbacks and failure?
Companies that adopt a growth mindset view setbacks as opportunities for learning. For instance, some companies may hold “post-mortem” meetings where teams can discuss what went wrong and brainstorm solutions for the future.
Other companies might encourage employees to take risks, reassuring them that failure isn’t a termination cause but a chance to improve.
36. How often would I receive feedback on my performance, and from whom?
Feedback is a crucial part of professional growth. Some companies adopt a continuous feedback approach, with managers providing real-time feedback on a regular basis. Others may have structured bi-annual or annual reviews.
Company Culture and Vision
37. What does the company’s vision for the next five years look like?
Understanding the company’s future plans can give you an insight into its stability and growth potential. It can also show if your personal career goals align with the company’s trajectory.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”– Helen Keller
38. Can you tell me about any exciting projects or developments coming up in the company?
Asking about upcoming projects not only shows your enthusiasm but also helps you assess potential learning opportunities.
Example: If a tech company plans to launch a new AI product and you're interested in AI, this could provide an excellent learning experience.
39. What is one challenge the company/department faced recently, and how was it resolved?
This question helps understand the company’s problem-solving strategies. It’s also a good indicator of how the company handles adversity.
Social activities can enhance your internship experience and help build relationships. These opportunities could range from team outings to company-wide social events.
Tip: Participating in these activities can improve your integration into the team.
41. What’s the best piece of advice you have for an intern like me?
Personal insights from someone already working at the company can be invaluable. The advice could relate to ways to excel in the role, how to integrate into the team, or how to make the most of the opportunities available.
42. How is the balance between team collaboration and individual work in this role?
The balance between team collaboration and individual work depends on the role and organizational context, requiring a blend of shared efforts for common goals and independent tasks for focused outcomes.
This balance is achieved through clear communication and a supportive environment valuing both team and individual contributions. Understanding this can help you work effectively within the team dynamics.
43. What is the most fulfilling project that you’ve worked on at this company?
This question can provide insight into the rewarding aspects of working at the company. It can also help you understand what types of projects employees find most satisfying.
44. What does the company do to create a sense of community among the employees?
A strong sense of community can greatly enhance job satisfaction. Companies might foster community through team-building activities, employee resource groups, or internal communication platforms.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
45. How will the skills I acquire during this internship benefit me in my future career?
Understanding the long-term benefits of the internship can help you maximize your learning. For example, learning how to use a project management tool or gaining experience in team collaboration can be valuable in various roles and industries.
46. How has the company’s vision or mission evolved over the years?
This question can help you understand the company’s growth, adaptability, and long-term strategy. A company with a clear, evolving mission shows that it adapts and remains focused on its goals amidst changes.
47. What is the best part about the company culture here?
This question can help you get a sense of the positives of the company culture. The answer might highlight aspects like supportive colleagues, innovative mindsets, or strong ethical standards.
48. What is the company’s approach to innovation and staying ahead of the competition?
Innovation is the cornerstone of staying competitive in today’s business environment. Some companies set up special innovation teams to come up with new ideas or engage in strategic partnerships to stay on top of the latest technology.
Other firms might encourage all their employees to contribute by offering incentives for innovative ideas which can lead to new services or products.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. – Steve Jobs
49. Can you tell me more about the team I will be working with?
Understanding team dynamics and structure can help you visualize how you might fit in. Are there different sub-teams specialized in certain tasks, or does everyone contribute to all projects?
Knowing how often the team meets, how they communicate, and what their shared goals are can be incredibly valuable to your integration process.
50. What does the company value most in its employees?
Knowing the company’s core values can help you demonstrate these characteristics in your work. Some companies prioritize innovation, so they value employees who come up with out-of-the-box ideas.
Others value collaboration and teamwork, emphasizing the importance of being able to work effectively as part of a team. Make sure to apply your personal values and skills in alignment with the company’s culture.
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do” – Elvis Presley
Understanding both the strengths and areas of improvement in a company’s culture will allow you to see if it aligns with your work style and personal values. Some companies may have a culture of working long hours, while others may emphasize work-life balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I conclude my list of questions during the internship interview?
After asking your questions, thank the interviewer for their time and ask if there’s anything else they’d like you to know. This ends your list of questions on a polite note while offering the interviewer a chance to add any missing information.
How many questions should I ask during the interview?
There is no hard and fast rule about this, but it’s generally advisable to ask at least three to four relevant questions. This not only shows your interest in the position but also your eagerness to align with company expectations.
What if my prepared questions get answered during the interview? Should I still ask them?
If your questions have been answered naturally during the course of the interview, you don’t need to ask them again. Instead, you can ask more specific, follow-up questions related to what was already discussed. This shows that you have been paying attention.
What can I do if my interviewer seems reluctant to answer my questions?
If you sense hesitation, reassure the interviewer that you’re asking questions to better understand your potential role and the company.
If they still seem uncomfortable, it’s best to move on to different questions. This incident itself can provide you with an idea about the company’s culture.
What if my question is regarding a topic their website or other materials do not cover?
In that case, feel free to ask! Asking insightful or original questions shows that you’ve done your research and that you’re invested in this opportunity.
You may want to preface this kind of question with something like, “I looked through your website and other resources but couldn’t find information on…” This helps indicate your proactive approach to finding information.
What if I don’t have any questions?
It’s advisable to always have a few questions ready. If, for some reason, you’re unable to come up with questions during the interview, refer to the list of potential questions we discussed earlier. Remember, asking questions tends to make you appear more engaged and interested in the role.
And there you have it! We’ve journeyed through a diverse set of questions you can ask in your internship interview. Remember, asking questions doesn’t just show that you’re enthusiastic and prepared—it’s your key to understanding the company culture, your role, and how you can thrive in the organization.
The better informed you are, the more you’ll be able to make the most of your internship experience.
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