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Sunny Side Up: The one interview question you should never ask

March 1, 2011

This is what we in the business like to call “the season” for summer internships. Why? Because anyone who is super serious about internships knows that this is THE TIME to be searching and applying. And if things are going in your favor, you’re also going on some interviews. Congrats, btw, if you already have your summer plans lined up. For the rest of you, read on.

With this thing called The Internet, there really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t be as prepared as possible, even for the unexpected. There will (every time) come a point during the interview when they’ll ask if you have any questions. Always have some questions prepared, but please, please, PLEASE – don’t start with this one:

“What are the chances that I’ll get hired at the end of the internship?”

There are just so many things wrong with this.

Wipe your sweaty hand before you shake mine. Gross.

First of all, I kind of now feel like you are only going to take this seriously if we agree to eventually hire you. Yeah maybe it’s true, but don’t be so obvious. But maybe, just maybe, you are really here for the experience, and you just gave the unflattering impression that you are only here if there’s a job in it for you.

Second of all, if we’re being honest, we don’t even know if we like you yet. We’ve seen little to none of your work, we don’t know what type of intern you’ll turn out to be, and we have no idea how you’ll get along with the rest of the team. It sucks that we have to be so judgmental based on the so little we know about you, but that’s the way it is. Deal with it.

Lastly, how do you even know if you’ll like working here? Think about it. This is just awkward.

Be strategic. Ask more indirectly – for example, “In the past, how has the experience with your interns been? Have any of them gone on to become full-time employees, or returned for a 2nd internship?”

The better time to ask about you specifically wanting to be hired or extending your internship would be no sooner than halfway through your internship. Set up a meeting with your internship coordinator or supervisor or mentor, and express your interest.

For more interview prep, check this out.

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