5 Toughest Internship Interview Questions (…and how to Answer!)

Posted by | September 4, 2013 | Tips for Interns

So far, so good: your CV and cover letter have done their job and you’ve secured an interview for that exciting internship position. Now you need to prepare for the bombardment of internship interview questions from your prospective employer.

The questions will challenge you… but which are the toughest and how best should you deal with them?

1. Why do you want this intern position?

This is a straightforward question for most applicants but it is surprising how many are not prepared for it, particularly if it’s a first interview. Your best answer will come from researching the company prior to the interview so you can describe how you view the business (favourably), the opportunity the position presents to you personally (shows commitment) and what value you can bring to the organisation and the team (displays worth).

2. Tell me about yourself?

Another regular internship interview question but the pitfall is the tendency for candidates to get carried away (generally because of nerves) and ramble on about obscure and irrelevant information. Relax. Keep calm and deliver your response in no more than two minutes. Cover information about yourself which is related to the position or the skills needed for it. Include:

  • Your childhood
  •   Your education
  • Any work experience to date
  • A challenging (related) life experience

3. How do you get two whales in a Mini?

Be on your guard for the question from left field. It is de rigueur these days to introduce an oddball internship interview question to test how well applicants think on their feet. It is a strategy that tries to unsettle candidates but if you are prepared for one, you can deal with it ably. Consider the question carefully first – after all, your thinking is being tested here – and then reply with a creative answer. Don’t fear it: an oddball question often warrants a similar style response or return question e.g. how big is the Mini?

4. If you were MD of the company, what two things would you change?

This is an internship interview question designed to test your knowledge of the company. The best route here, however, is to be unspecific – focus on themes which affect any company director. Discuss how feedback and communication are the lifeblood of any organisation and getting that right is fundamental. Equally, a clear business structure is vital to success and putting that in place will secure long term benefits.

5. Give me an example where you have worked under pressure?

Classic behaviour-based questions will help the interviewer determine how you are likely to function in the role. Similar internship interview questions will draw out your key skills so have appropriate answers ready. Your response should recall a positive life or educational experience with a successful outcome. Again, relate it back to the position if possible. For example, persuading colleagues to help out on a particular project may be a suitable answer in this instance.

6. Preparation is the key

You won’t know which tough internship interview questions are likely to crop up in your interview so preparation is everything; practice your responses with a friend if necessary. If you’ve got the answers, the job could well be yours.

Let us know the toughest question you’ve faced. Pop your comments in the box below.

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