How to stand out in your internship interview

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:24

Internship interview

If you have an interview coming up for an internship or work placement, we’re here to help you prepare for what to expect and what is expected of you. In most cases, getting an internship involves an interview. In some cases, it may even involve multiple interview stages and an assessment centre. This is especially true for employers who like to fast track successful interns into graduate jobs.

What to expect from your interview

You may have one or multiple interviews. HR team members and your potential mangers are likely to be present at one or both interviews. It isn’t uncommon for interviewers to take notes during interviews. This helps them remember your answers so don’t let it worry you. Most interviews have a structured format set by the interviewer, and they typically give you a chance to ask questions at the end.

Interview questions

Interviewers are likely to have a list of questions such as ‘Why do you want to work with our company?’ that they ask to every candidate. They might then add follow up questions based on your answers or ask you questions about your application. You may be asked to give more detail or clarify a response. Interviewers do this to make sure that you are providing the best and most relevant information. Questions usually include:

  • Questions about why you are interested in the industry, field, employer or role
  • Questions about your competencies
  • Technical questions
  • Hypothetical questions such as ’What would you do in this scenario?’

What to ask in an internship interview

Asking at least one question in an interview shows your interest to the interviewer. Some good questions to ask include:

  • What do the interviewers like about their jobs and the company
  • What have past interns gone on to do career-wise
  • How the employer is engaging with an issue affecting the industry such as sustainability and ethical supply chains.

How to act professionally

Employers want to know that you can fit into the company and behave appropriately, especially if you are likely to interact with external people such as clients or suppliers during the internship. A little polite small talk when you meet your interviewers is good. Talk about safe topics such as the weather or your journey there if the interview is in person. Wish your interviewers a good day or evening at the end of the interview.

If your interview is in person, wear business attire, unless you’re sure it is inappropriate for the organisation or industry. Being dressed more formally than the employees in the office is not a problem and it shows that you are taking the interview seriously.

Our tips for interview success

  • Research the employer beforehand and learn about the industry and the role
  • If your interview is in person, plan your journey and allow for extra time in case of unexpected delays. You don’t want to get there in a rush or even worse, be late
  • Try on your interview outfit in advance so that you have time to make any necessary repairs or buy anything you’ve forgotten
  • If your interview is online, make sure that the device you plan on using is plugged in and functioning properly. Also check what will show up in the background of your video call
  • Never talk about your interview on social media
  • Give full answers to the questions you’re asked but don’t ramble
  • Be punctual

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.