The interview process for internships is just as formal and intentional as if interviewing for a full-time job. Follow these tips for the ultimate first impression.

Before the Interview

  • Organization is a key strategy that enables instant recall and proper follow-up. Track your applications using Excel, including company name, internship title, contact details and application date.
  • Research the employer thoroughly. Employers consistently comment on this in their feedback as being a "make or break" component in their considerations. 
  • Anticipate behavioral interview questions. Prepare examples from your class projects, employment, volunteerism and other activities that connect directly to the internship opportunity. 
  • Know what to expect in an interview. Review the interview information provided on our CRC page.

During the Interview

  • Internship interviews differ from job interviews in that you are expected to talk about your learning goals and career interests along with the skills and knowledge you have to offer. 
  • The majority of your time as a student is spent on coursework - use that to your advantage. Internships are created by employers to bring fresh knowledge and perspectives into their organizations. Therefore focus some of your examples on what you can bring to their organizations as a result of your learning.
  • Ask clarifying questions that help you make decisions; topics could include: expectations of the intern, supervisory management style, departmental goals, training plans, company culture, and characteristics of fit. 
  • Words matter. Practice your delivery and always remain professional. For example, check out this article from U.S. News & World Report: Five words to avoid saying in interviews.

Zoom or Phone Interviews

  • Find a clean, well-lit setting that promotes professionalism and is free of visual distractions, noise, pets, and roommates.
  • Focus solely on the interview - do not attempt to multi-task at any point during the interaction. 
  • Ask the interviewer to repeat questions you do not hear or to rephrase questions you do not understand.
  • As the interview closes, ask about next steps and obtain contact information necessary for follow-up.
  • Review our Virtual Interview Tips [PDF] handout for additional information. 

Follow up

  • Send a professional thank you email immediately after the interview. Reiterate your interest in the position and offer to provide any additional information if necessary. Not only is this a sign of courtesy, but a simple detail that can create an advantage over your competition. 
  • Check your email and voicemail regularly after the interview. Even if you are no longer interested in the opportunity, always follow up with the employer. 
  • Be realistic in your expectations. Employers typically will not make a hiring decision during the interview.  After your initial thank you email, follow up with the employer within five business days. For example, if you interview on a Tuesday, reach out on the following Tuesday.