Frequently Asked Questions about Internships

Interviewing for Internships

  • When planning an internship, allow ample time for scheduling and attending interviews and waiting to hear back from organizations. This process can take as much as six weeks.
  • Make a telephone contact to set up an appointment.
  • Determine the most appropriate person with whom to interview. Who is the person who would be supervising or training interns? That's the person you want to meet.
  • Always be professional in your approach as well as your presentation. Dress as appropriate. This means finding out how they dress at the internship site and dressing up slightly more.
  • If you don't have the right clothes -- buy, borrow, or otherwise obtain them.
  • Be articulate. (how?)
  • Do your homework and find out as much as you can about the organization and/or the position before you go to the interview. This really pays off!

Try to anticipate the questions you will be asked and mentally prepare your responses.

You may want to practice your responses in writing or in a practice interview with a friend or internship or career counselor. You can expect to be asked why you want to do an internship or what you want to get out of the internship experience. This is your chance to talk about your immediate academic goals and your future career goals. It's also a chance for you to demonstrate some knowledge of the subject area you have chosen. Your response should be specific enough to show that you have some background to contribute and show that you have given this question some thought, but it should not be so rigid that you close off opportunities. You can also expect to be asked to describe your academic background and professional skills. This is a chance for you to both talk through your resume and emphasize the most relevant experience from your background for the specific position.

Have your own questions to ask.

Think about what you want to know before you would be willing to accept an internship with this organization. Remember: This is a mutually beneficial situation. The organization has things they want you to do for them; you have goals that you want to achieve by conducting an internship.

  • Can you achieve your learning goals by doing this internship? Can you learn what you want to learn?
  • Is the learning environment compatible for you? Does it feel comfortable? Do you feel you would have adequate access to the supervisor? Do you feel like they would have time to de vote to your training and supervision? Would you feel comfortable approaching them if you had questions or concerns about your responsibilities?
  • Can you meet the time commitment the organization is asking of you?
  • Do they meet the specifications that you have with respect to location, schedule of hours, pay, etc.?
  • What kind of training and supervision will they provide? How will you learn what you want to learn?