Preparing for an Internship Interview

Career Blog

Published: November 30, 2018 by Evelyn Hudson

Interviewing for an internship is similar to a job interview, but not exactly the same. You most likely aren’t getting paid, so the stakes aren’t as high, and you are looking for more of a learning experience. Preparing for the internship interview is also a bit different. Follow these tips to properly prepare yourself for the interview and have a better chance of landing the internship!

  1. Gather work samples. You may not have any professional experience, but you definitely have coursework to show off. Choose samples that relate to the internship you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for an internship in reference, select coursework from your class in that subject. Put everything together in a professional looking binder to show off to the interviewer.
  2. Prepare your questions. An internship interview is just as much about you choosing the right organization as it is them choosing the right intern. This is meant to be a learning experience, so confirm that you’ll be doing more than making coffee. Asking questions such as “What will my day look like?” and “Who will I work with directly?” are a great way to ensure the internship will meet your expectations. If you don’t like the answers you get, try again at a different organization.
  3. Do your research. Before you even go in for the interview, it’s important to check a few boxes. First, make sure the place where you are interviewing will count for internship credit. Second, confirm that where you are interviewing is comfortable with the university’s requirements (such as number of hours or documentation). Finally, ensure that you can meet the organization’s requirements. If you already have a heavy class load, a full-time internship might not be the best choice for you.
  4. Practice answering interview questions. As they say, practice makes perfect! The iSchool offers a fantastic program called Big Interview where you can record yourself answering common interview questions. This way, you can keep track of questions that stump you or times your answer was confusing. You’ll be ready for any question the interviewer throws your way!
  5. Know your must-haves and deal breakers. As mentioned earlier, this interview is much more about you than a traditional job interview. Your livelihood isn’t on the line here, so you can feel more comfortable walking away if it isn’t the right fit. Really consider what you want and need as well as what is unacceptable. If it will help you, make a checklist to ensure any potential internship meets your standards. This way, you are more likely to land an internship that you’ll actually enjoy and will help you reach your career goals.

How do you prepare for an internship interview? Share your tips in the comments!

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