In today’s job market, having internship experience gives employers a good impression.
An internship simply means a programme offered by companies to final year students and sometimes fresh graduates to obtain work experience in the real corporate world.
Your internship experience shows that you have the knowledge and skills in your career field with the potential to contribute to the company’s growth.
My 3-month internship served as a great stepping stone to prepare myself for the real deal. Needless to say, I was prepared for whatever challenges I faced during my first job due to my experience as an intern.
However, internships are not handed to you that easily - you have to earn it through a formal process - just like any other job search.
(Read: What’s next after SPM?)
Step-by-step internship application process
Step 1: Research companies that can offer you the work experience you want.
Step 2: Prepare your resume and tailor each of them to the company’s vision and mission.
Step 3: Send a formal email to the Human Resources department of the company and make sure to attach your resume.
Step 4: You will most likely receive an interview invitation from at least one of the companies.
“But wait - I don’t know anything about interviews!”
We have compiled a list of questions encountered by real internship candidates along with sample answers.
Image source: Pexels
Questions that will definitely appear in your internship interview
1. “Tell us about yourself.”
Employers want to know how well a candidate can communicate with others. Talking about yourself helps them gauge your verbal and interpersonal skills. When you encounter this question, just relax and speak like how you would when talking to your lecturers - calm and polite.
However, take note that you shouldn’t literally talk only about yourself, like your favourite movies or food.
Be sure to add details that will highlight your value to the company, such as academic and extra-curricular achievements, leadership skills, volunteer work and even hobbies.
Based on Career Guide’s How to Answer “Tell me about yourself” in a Job Interview:
- Start with your current situation and highlight achievements and responsibilities.
- Summarise any experience or skill obtained in university that helped you prepare for this role.
- Relate your qualifications and degree to how they can bring value to the company.
I am a final year student at University X seeking an internship opportunity in your company. Throughout my days in university as a Communications student, I have learned how to effectively communicate with an audience through various channels, and gained problem-solving, critical-thinking, and interpersonal communication skills.
On top of that, I am skilled at editing videos and basic graphic design. I have also experienced leading a team, participated in public speaking, as well as joined debate workshops as part of my extra-curricular activities.
Based on my qualifications, experience and skills as a Communications major, I believe they can help me contribute to the goals of your company.
2. “Why are you interested in our company?”
Anyone can apply for an internship, but not all candidates share the same values as the company. This question helps companies learn if your career goals align with theirs, as well as what they can offer you from the internship. And of course, this is for them to measure how keen you are to work with them.
Always research about the company before you attend the interview. You will appear prepared and this shows enthusiasm from your end.
From what I have seen on your website and social media platforms, it is iminent that your company is very committed to community engagement. As a mission-driven person, I am intrigued by how well your company’s values align with what I am looking for in a company. I believe this opportunity will expose me to multiple ways of communicating effectively with different audiences to achieve the company’s goals.
3. “Can you share with us a situation where you took the initiative to lead?”
Reading between the lines, this question actually meant “Do you have the drive and willpower to step up when needed?”
If you don’t have any work experience before this interview, you can share how you took the lead in group assignments, presentations, or club activities. On top of that, add how your actions lead to a positive outcome.
As someone with prior experience in fundraising events, I took the initiative to draft a proposal entitled ‘Down Syndrome Awareness Fundraising Event’ in conjunction with our final year project. As a core member of the club, I shared my personal experience with my group members and delegated roles among all of us to ensure a smooth-sailing event. As a result, we managed to raise RM 10,000 for a local non-profit organisation dedicated to help children with Down Syndrome in the country.
4. “What is one challenge you have faced that you will never forget?”
Crisis happens in any company. Employers want to know if you are able to adapt to these changes, and to measure how well you can assess your own limits, failures, and how well you deal with them.
You don’t have to press on your shortcomings too much if any. Just lightly mention the challenge you had faced, and spend the remaining time talking about what you learned from it, and maybe what you could have done differently now.
This will also show employers that you are able to self-reflect.
There was one semester where I had overestimated my own academic abilities and took too many subjects. I ended up raising the bar too high for myself and struggled with my studies. After spending time reflecting on my schedule and learning pace, I set small goals in larger quantities rather than huge goals that seemed too far to achieve. As a result, I learned to manage my time and tasks well by staying organised.
5. Lastly: “Do you have any questions for us?”
Again, this needs prior preparations. Companies will expect you to ask questions if you are indeed interested to join them. Remember to ask thoughtful questions that reflect your engagement in the entire interview.
- What are your expectations of this internship role? Is there anything that can be done to effectively assist the team?
- What was your best experience working with this company and why?
- How do you measure success for an employee and company?
These are just a compilation of commonly asked questions in an internship interview. You can always research a little more online, or even have a mock interview with a family member to ease the pre-interview jitters!
If you do well in your interview, you will be contacted shortly with an offer to join the company.
Don’t feel dejected if you haven’t received an offer - you still have time to look for more companies, and at least you get to experience how it’s like to be interviewed.
We wish you the best of luck!
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