Internship Interview Preparation

Updated: April 13, 2020

Once you’ve landed that all-important internship interview, the last thing you want to be thinking about is logistics. This is not the time to sweat the small stuff; it’s the time to present your best self. For your reading pleasure, we’ve gathered all the important things to keep in mind before, during, and after the big day. That way, when you arrive in the waiting room, you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Your interview checklist

  • Confirm the time, place, and with whom you’ll be interviewing.
  • Review the job description.
  • Research the company and interviewer.
  • Practice your responses to common interview questions.
  • Prepare at least 10 questions to ask the interviewer.
  • The night before, gather copies of your resume, cover letter, and work samples.
  • Get a good night’s sleep and dress for success.
  • Figure out the location in advance—and arrive at 5–10 minutes early.
  • Be confident and enthusiastic.
  • Say thank you.
  • Be sure to follow up.


Scheduling an interview

When you get that magical email or call that you’ve gotten an internship interview, it’s easy to forget that this is a valuable opportunity to get additional information. Before hanging up the phone (or clicking “send”), be sure to ask the right questions. To prepare effectively, consider asking the following:

  • With whom will I be interviewing?
  • Will I be interviewing with each person separately or as a group?
  • Can you tell me the names and titles of each person I’ll be meeting?
  • In what capacity would I be interacting with each of these people during the internship?
  • Is there an organizational chart I could review prior to the interview?
  • While I have the role description from Chegg Internships (or wherever you learned of the position), I’d love to know a bit more. Is there any additional information on file about the internship, the performance criteria, or the organization that I could review before the interview?

These questions will give you a leg up during the interview by giving you a better idea of what to expect. Once you’re prepared with the necessary information, scout the interview location in advance. You don’t want to take two buses and a train to the interview location that morning, crossing your fingers that you’ll make each connection. Instead, make your way to the location a few days ahead of time, so that you know exactly where you’re going. It will reduce your day-of stress big time.

What to bring to the interview

Once you’ve asked the right questions, it’s time to gather the appropriate materials.

  • Bring one additional copy of your resume and cover for each person who will be interviewing you—and then bring one extra copy of each, just in case. So, if you know that three people will be interviewing you, bring four copies of your resume and cover letter.
  • Prepare informed questions to ask based on who will be interviewing you. Additionally, prepare additional questions if you’re interviewing with multiple people. Never ask the same question to different people unless it’s about their personal experience.
  • Bring a polished portfolio of your work to share with the interviewers. A single portfolio is fine; if they want to keep any materials for further review, offer to email them later.
  • Finally, a hairbrush and mirror are crucial. Prior to the interview, duck into the bathroom and ensure you look your best and having nothing in your teeth. As long as you’ve dressed the part, you’ll be good to go.

Being prepared will help you engage the interviewers and build your confidence in yourself. If you feel good, others will, too.

How to prepare for the interview

Finally, you can get to researching the company and practicing your answers to common interview questions. You want to prepare for the interview as you would prepare for an exam. If you study in advance, you feel confident that you’ll ace the test—and the same is true for an interview. To ace the interview, follow try this:

  • Engage with the interviewers and build a rapport by encouraging them to share their perspective. Good areas to explore include their career progression, professional advice, and professional interests.
  • Practice your answers out loud with a friend or classmate to ensure you sound confident and prepared. The other person can also check for eye contact, fidgeting, etc.

Get a good night’s sleep and go get ‘em! You’ve got this.

The morning of

The morning of the interview, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about except putting forth your best self. To ensure a smooth interview process, here are a couple of tips:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Some people get a little queasy from interviews; if that’s the case, keep it light.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Since you already know where the interview takes place (and how to get there), you can plan accordingly. It’s always better to arrive early and have time to kill than to arrive late. You might consider hanging out at a local coffee shop and then walking over to your interview 10 minutes beforehand—calm, cool, and caffeinated.
  • Know the interviewer’s contact info. Just in case you’re running late—cars do break down—have the interviewer’s contact information at the ready and call them immediately. They’ll be far more forgiving if you give them advance notice.


What to do after the interview

You did it! Breathe a sigh of relief and treat yourself to a cardamom latte. But you have one last to-do before you can kick back and relax: expressing your gratitude. You can read all about writing a thank-you note here, but here are the basics:

  • Send it out 24–48 hours after the interview. You want to be eager, but you always want your thank-you note to remind them of you.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Two or three succinct paragraphs is plenty.
  • Personalize your email by referring to memorable moments from the interview.
  • Reiterate why you’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Mention anything that you forgot to say in the interview and link to any relevant work samples you didn’t get to share.