Asking about Growth Opportunities During an Internship Interview

Dana Guterman
Updated: July 24, 2020

After reading this article, you’ll:

  • Understand why you should ask about job advancement opportunities during an interview.
  • Know how to ask about advancement and development opportunities at an internship or job.

Despite an uptick in job-hopping, most people join a new company hoping to grow and take on new responsibilities throughout the years. For that reason, interns often expect their internship to lead to a full-time position. And for many, that’s exactly what will happen: In 2018, 59 percent of interns were offered a full-time position and 77.3 percent accepted an offer, for a conversion rate of 45.6 percent (as per NACE’s 2018 Internship and Co-op Survey Report).

But how do you know if you’ll get a full-time offer from an internship? And, for that matter, how do you know you’re not signing on to a dead-end job post-graduation? The best way to find out is simple: Ask during your interview.


Why you need to ask about growth opportunities

Asking about growth opportunities when you haven’t even received an offer might feel presumptuous, but it’s a necessity. To make an educated decision about an internship or job, you need accurate information. This isn’t about the current role being “beneath you.” It’s about showing the interviewer that you want to stick around, and to do that, you need to know that there are long-term opportunities at the company.

By asking about growth opportunities, you’re showing the interviewer that you’re serious about the position while learning about the company culture.


How to ask about growth opportunities in an interview

Most interviewers end the interview by asking, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is your opportunity to get information—including information about growth opportunities. Simply ask them one (or more) of the example interview questions below to assess whether this role will meet your growth and development needs.

Worried about coming across as overconfident? Don’t be. Frame your questions in terms of wanting to be at the company for the long term—not wanting a quick promotion or salary raise. There’s a big difference between wanting to grow your career and wanting to grow your paycheck.

Finally, remember that there are a variety of ways in which a company can support your career. Be open to a variety of job advancement opportunities, which might include:

  • Attending conferences, trade shows, or networking events.
  • A culture of merit-based promotions and/or compensation.
  • Being mentored or coached by more experienced professionals.
  • Enrolling in internal or external training sessions or continuing education classes.
  • Receiving tuition reimbursement.
  • Regular lunch-and-learns or knowledge-sharing meetings.


Example interview questions about growth and advancement opportunities

Here are some sample questions about growth and development to ask the interviewer.

  • Can you tell me what the typical career path for someone in this position looks like?
  • What professional development opportunities are available at your company?
  • Are there any formal or informal opportunities for mentoring and professional growth at the company?
  • What types of roles have successful interns/employees moved on to?
  • How do you help high-performing employees grow?
  • If I want to acquire a new skill, are there opportunities to shadow more experienced employees to learn more?