4 Internship Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

4 important internship interview questions every HR practitioner should ask.

Internship Interview Questions

If you are reading up about internship interview questions, it already means you’re one step ahead of most folks. See, it’s tempting to treat interns as a disposable commodity, or a type of non-employee. However, clever HR practitioners realize that Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg all started out as interns.

Talent lies in wait around every corner and it’s your job to find it!

Thus, it only makes sense to get some stellar interns on board when you can. After all, you never know what amazing things they may do within your organization. Especially if your company is the type of forward-thinking enterprise that offers plenty of room for growth and employee development throughout the ranks.

So how do you spot the solid bets? The surefire wins? The young guns that will grow into a solid return on investment along the line? Well, as with most vital steps in the hiring process, it all starts with asking the right questions.

The Top Internship Interview Questions Every Successful Company Knows to Ask

Here are the four questions that experienced interviewers ask intern candidates before deciding who to welcome on board:

Questions To Ask Interns During Interview

What Aspects of Industry XYZ Excited You & What Do You Look Forward to Learning?

It’s important to remember that most interns are fairly young, or looking to break into a new industry. So, keep your opening questions open-ended, rather than grilling them for info they might not already have. Instead, get them to share their reason for pursuing the industry to start with. Give them an opportunity to reveal what their passions are. This will give you a good idea of who they are and what they’re looking for.

How Would Your Presence Add Value to Our Existing Team?

Adding an intern to the mix can upset the status quo a little bit. Employees often see an intern as someone they have to ‘babysit’. Asking how a prospective intern plans to add value will show you what they bring to the table. You need to make sure that they don’t expect to be spoon-fed but will, instead, seek out opportunities to help your team.

You can use a scenario question to gauge how they might fit in. E.g. A senior member of our team is overwhelmed with the prep work for an upcoming presentation. How would you go about offering to lighten their load without expecting them to come up with a task for you?

Intern Screening Questions

If Your Best Friend Was Asked To Describe You, What Would They Say?

It’s hard to toot your own horn. Especially when you are new to the game! Later along the line, most of us get a little better at telling interviewers why we are wonderful. Or at least, we work towards it. But when you are just starting out, it can be tough to share your best qualities without feeling like you are being boastful.

This is why it’s such a solid idea to flip the script on the ‘what are your best qualities’ question in this way. Instead of saying, ‘I am an organizational superstar who can lean into a complex spreadsheet in two seconds flat’, a prospective intern can instead describe themselves in the third person. This helps more than you might think.

What Do You Know About Our Company & Why Do We Seem Like a Good Fit?

This one's a bit of a double whammy. First, you want to know that they’ve done their homework. Any prospective intern worth their salt will have spent some time Googling your company and learning a bit about what you do. If they didn’t, it does not bode well. This is Interview 101, after all.

Second, you’ll also be able to gauge if they know enough about your corporate culture to understand if they will be a good fit. Internships are most effective for all parties concerned if there is alignment regarding cultural expectations straight off the bat. E.g. If you have a go-go-go culture make sure they don’t expect a meetings-over-the-football-table culture.

PS. With all that said, you should also know that you are interviewing the right candidates to start. So make sure that your screening interview game is strong before you hit the ground running.

First Interview With Interns


Summary

There are a few important internship interview questions every HR practitioner should know to ask. Start with the aspects of your industry they find exciting and what they look forward to learning. Then move on to how they see themselves adding value. Ask them how their best friend would describe them and get them to share their knowledge about your company.

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