When an employer asks about you, they want to know how your interests and experience relate to the internship you’re interviewing for. You can start off with a short narrative about your background and quickly transition into relevant experience. For example, if you’re interviewing for a finance role and previously shadowed a financial advisor, you want to focus on that experience. Make sure to also mention how your experience ties into the needs listed in the job description.
It’s helpful to do some research and make sure that your skills, interests, and values are aligned with the company even before you apply. It makes this question much easier to answer if, for example, a company’s mission to “reduce their carbon footprint on the environment” is important to you too. Your interviewer will be happy to know that you share their mission and values.
It’s important to take some time to think of a few examples ahead of time, so you can be prepared for this question. Then, use the STAR method to answer. Remember to choose an answer that is relevant to your work experience. Tell them how you completed a difficult project, eased a distressed peer while volunteering, or about your last accomplishment when working with a supportive supervisor.
INTERNSHIP Interview Questions And Answers! (How To PASS a JOB INTERN Interview!)
4. What skills can you bring to the company?
This one’s pretty straightforward:
The interviewer wants to know how you can contribute to the company and how well you understand the role.
When answering this question, focus on skills that you have and that the employer mentioned in the job ad. Be specific about your hard skills and include a few soft skills that will come in useful.
Also, it’s a good idea to mention your willingness to learn and your positive attitude—both are among the top qualities that employers look for when hiring interns.
Alongside having an open mind and being eager to learn, I already have extensive coding experience. I’m particularly proficient in C++, with straight A’s to prove it. My troubleshooting abilities would also come in very useful, as would my excellent communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills developed during college group projects.
2. What’s the Best Team You’ve Ever Been a Part of, and Why?/What’s Your Ideal Team?
The “team” question can come in many shapes and sizes. However it’s delivered, the interviewer wants to understand how you work with others so they can envision how you’ll work within their team. Simply put, does their team culture and your potential boss’s management style make sense for you?
If you have real examples from past experiences that you can draw on to explain your dream team, great! If not, go into detail on what you believe makes for a stellar group dynamic.
For example, “Good communication is important for a great team” is the start of your answer, not a complete statement. You’ll also want to define what good communication means to you and what it looks like in practice. A better answer would look something like:
“Good communication makes for a great team, and creating best practices around how a team is going to communicate is really important. For example, for my last class project our team met weekly and created shared Google Docs so we could collaborate even when we weren’t with each other, and we all agreed we could call each other whenever we needed something. This synthesis of working styles helped us to stay on track, work efficiently, and ultimately get along with one another.”
If it seems appropriate, you can also address how you like to be managed. Do you like a lot of direction and check-ins, or do you like to discuss your projects and then run with them on your own? If you have no idea how you like to be managed because you’ve never had a boss before, that’s OK! Consider the best teachers or mentors you’ve come across. What about their leadership style did you like? How did they guide you or others, and what about that stuck with you?
Just remember: This isn’t supposed to be a vent session where you bash former teammates (that attitude says more about you than them). If you’re using a negative team experience as an example of what you don’t want, focus more on what you learned from that experience rather than what wasn’t good.
5. Do you work better alone or with a team?
What’s the right answer? If you say you work better alone, you’ll come across as a poor team player. If you say you prefer teamwork, you might seem unable to take responsibility.
So, the best way to answer this question is to say “both” and talk about the advantages of each.
Here’s an example:
I’m equally suited to working as part of a team and solo projects. Teamwork is great, because it gives me an opportunity to connect with others, brainstorm, share and receive feedback, and learn from others. At the same time, individual projects are a chance to test and prove my skills, as well as practice creative problem-solving.
With an answer like this, you cover all the bases and show you can handle any kind of project. It follows that you should avoid answers like this:
I’m definitely more of a solo project kind of person. I don’t work very well with other people constantly looking over my shoulder and criticizing or influencing my ideas.