Ahead of any job comes an interview. This is the company’s chance to evaluate you as a future member of their organization. It’s also your opportunity as a candidate to understand if the company is the right fit. Ideally, both sides of the table (or more recently computer screen) agree there’s a fit, but that doesn’t mean nailing an interview is easy.
Are you gearing up for an internship interview, a crucial stepping stone toward your dream career? It's perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous and stressed, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can ace the interview and leave a lasting impression on your potential employer. This is your moment to shine, showcasing your skills, experience, and unwavering passion for your chosen field.
With years of coaching college students as they make their transitions into internship, cop-ops, and full-time roles and working with the employers making those hires, we’ve built our Top 4 Tips to Prepare for an Interview. With the following strategies built on years of experience helping candidates navigate this path, you'll be well-prepared to conquer your next internship interview. Take a deep breath, stay confident, and read on.
1. Research the Company before your interview.
Checking out the company’s “About Us” and “Values” pages are must-haves before your interview. Even going beyond the company's website to delve into news articles, press releases, and recent projects will give you valuable insights into the company's culture and values to determine if you truly align with the open role. Having these deep insights to align your interview answers will demonstrate your genuine interest and proactive approach to understanding the organization.
I can’t tell you how many employers we talk with that tell us their interviewee’s can’t name a single thing about their company during the interview. Don’t be one of these candidates. Do your research.
2. Prepare Your Answers Ahead of the Interview.
While quick thinking is an asset, practicing your responses to common interview questions beforehand can be incredibly beneficial. Not only does this help you find the right answers to share why you’d be a great fit for this new role, it also helps calm your nerves in what can be a tense situation for many. Anticipate common interview questions such as "Why do you want to intern with us?" and "What are your strengths and weaknesses?". Craft answers that effectively highlight your skills and suitability for the position. based on your past experience. A good first step is using your resume as a “script” to your answers. This lets you share relevant experience and connect directly to the new role. Lastly, don't forget to prepare questions to ask the interviewer, indicating your active interest in the company and role.
3. Utilize the STAR Method in Your Responses
A common method for answering interview questions (as well as structuring your resume or presentations) is the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, offering a structured approach to behavioral interview questions. It helps you frame your responses effectively by describing the situation, task, action, and result of past experiences in a succinct and impactful manner. For instance, when asked, "Tell me about a time when you had to work with a challenging team member," you can use the STAR method to provide a well-structured answer. To get your answers lined up, reference step 2, and get those answers prepped and practiced ahead of time!
4. Showcase Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to comprehend and manage not only your emotions but also those of others. Not only is high EQ a strong skill in your everyday roles, but a great skill to showcase and use in your interviews. Highlight your EQ during the interview to underscore your ability to collaborate effectively and navigate challenging situations. When discussing a past difficult situation, focus not only on the problem but also on how you managed your emotions and communicated effectively to find a solution.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers who have undergone a minimum of one interview stand a 37% greater chance of receiving a job offer signifying the important of interview preparation. Mastering your interview skills require time and dedication, but the rewards are unquestionably worth it. In conclusion, conduct thorough research on the company, prepare well-thought-out answers, and apply the STAR method and emotional intelligence strategies to nail your upcoming interviews. Armed with these valuable tools, you'll be well on your way to securing your coveted dream internship. One last tip we give to pre-internship participants is to find a “practice interview” with a company at your career fair to try out your new interview skills ahead of your ideal interview.
Interviews may seem daunting, but remember, they are an opportunity for you to shine and prove your worth to your potential employer. With the right preparation and mindset, you can navigate the interview successfully and take the next step toward your desired career path. Best of luck in your internship journey!
Internship on Demand bridges the gap between school and career through hands-on work experience at today's most innovative companies. We design, build, and manage tailored pre-internships to reduce recruiting spend, cut training time, and improve intern conversion and employee retention.
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