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6 Tips For a Successful Internship Interview

July 20, 2012

Melissa Miller is a freelance writer and blogger who loves to give education advice. Her articles often aim to help you on your way to landing associate degree jobs. You can email her if you have any suggestions or comments.

interview prepBy Melissa Miller

If you have an interview for an internship lined up, you may be wondering what exactly you should do before, during, and after the interview to improve your chances of success. College students and recent college grads who are interviewing for internships don’t have it easy these days. If you want to stand out from the crowd and ace your internship interview, here are a few tips you should consider:

1. Practice answering interview questions beforehand

Look up some common interview questions online and make a list of them. Call up one of your friends and ask them to conduct a mock interview with you, in which they ask you some of the most common interview questions. This may feel a little silly at first, but it can be enormously beneficial. You don’t want to step into an interview without an arsenal of answers to basic interview questions at your disposal.

2. Dress for success

Many internship interviewees don’t wear appropriate clothing to their interviews. A suit and tie are appropriate for guys, and a nice skirt and professional blouse are appropriate for gals. Don’t show up in a ball gown, tux, or jeans and a t-shirt. And make sure your clothing is clean and wrinkle-free. Even if you’re interviewing to intern at a tech startup where casual clothing is the norm for employees and interns, it’s best to dress up for the interview.

3. Focus on your academic and professional accomplishments

Did you design a website for one of your college courses or write some grant proposals for a previous internship? Make sure you talk about everything you’ve accomplished as a college student and everything you’ve accomplished at previous jobs and internships. Intern employers don’t necessarily want to hear about what you’ve learned. They want to hear about what you’ve done, especially what you’ve done well.

4. Be considerate

Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early to your interview. You do NOT want to keep your interviewers waiting. Keep the perfume/cologne to a minimum. Your favorite fragrance might be off-putting to your interviewer. Shake your interviewer’s hand firmly, smile, and make eye contact. Come prepared with questions and some background knowledge of what the company you’re interviewing with does. Avoid bragging and exaggerating your accomplishments. And avoid asking about salary during the interview. You don’t want to seem too interested in pay. You want to seem interested in the position. If you’re perceived as a thoughtful, polite individual, you’ll be much more likely to get the gig.

5. Express your enthusiasm

When you’re nervous during an interview, you might be too focused on answering the questions your interviewer asks and not focused enough on just how excited you are about potentially working for the company. If you get halfway through the interview and realize you haven’t expressed how interested you are in the position, make sure you turn on the overt enthusiasm. Tell your interviewer what you like about the company and how interested you are in the position. Employers want to hire interns who are truly interested in what they do.

6. Thank your interviewers

As soon as you get home from the interview, send a thank you email or a handwritten thank you note to each and every person who interviewed you. Sending thank you notes will make you stand out in a good way and help your potential internship employers know that you’re considerate and enthusiastic about the position.

Try out the tips above, be yourself, and relax. Your dream internship is within reach. You just have to make it through the interview.

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