Kris Bogdanov

Prepare for an internship interview in 5 days

How I got 2 internships after a dozen of interviews and 80+ applications

09 February 2019

Internship applications/interviews was a horrible experience for me. Getting an interview is an achievement by itself (I was getting rejected most often in the first/second stage). Do your best not to screw this over.

I read this on Reddit a while ago

  • For every 5 applications, you get 1 interview. For every 5 interviews, you get one offer.

This is roughly true for the average person.

Here's a 5 day step general process on how to prepare for an internship interview.

5 days away - get to know the company 📚

I believe that more than being qualified for the role, you should be hyped about the company and the role.

One of the best ways to convey that excitement is showing that you have done your research. One of the worst ways - not knowing anything besides the general stuff.

For my first internship interview (over 2 years ago), I was extremely unprepared. I didn't even know what the company did - only that it was in the pharmaceutical business. I through that they produce the drugs within the company, but they made it very clear that this is false during the interview. A simple research would have shown that.

No matter what I did afterwards, I had no chance of getting the job. 🙅‍♂️

Spend some time their website and write down key goals and values. Think about how you can incorporate that in your answers.

Check if they have a blog, social media or podcast - study their content to gain extra insight about the company - then talk about it in the interview.

😍 Employers love that you have spent time researching their company (remember, everyone loves talking about themselves and the stuff they do).

4 days away - research the role 🕵️

Be able to talk about the role you are applying to. Make sure you can explain how your degree and other past experiences will help you throughout this internship. (in reality, you learn everything from scratch 👶)

Look at your job description and write down brief summary of every point. Google any terms you haven't heard before (employers love throwing fancy terms around).

In addition, the competencies they are looking for might be there. Write them down - this will be useful for the next step.

3 days away - competency based questions 🙉

We all hate them. Unfortunately, most companies use them in their hiring process. The fact remains - we need to learn how to answer them effectively.

Depending on the role, you will be asked different questions. Communication skills? Analytical skills? Team work? Research depending on your role.

Next, write down your answer using bullet points. Don't try to write full sentences and memorise them word for word. It will not work.

2 days away - study your CV and cover letter 👨‍🎤

This will be trickier than you might think.

You should be able to talk freely about everything you have done in your past jobs and university. You will also have to link them to your competency questions. Write down how every past experience has helped you develop communication, team work, meeting deadlines and so on.

A useful technique to learn is the STAR method. It is little bit unnatural to answer a question using the STAR method, but doing so will ensure that you get out the most from your answer.

1 day away - write down questions you want to ask 🤝

At the end of every interview, you will get asked: "Do you have any questions for us?".

NEVER reply with a no. Employers want to know that you are interested in the job and that you are hungry for more information than what they have provided you with.

I usually like to ask a subset of these questions:

  • Will I work with people outside my team, or is the job concentrated within my team?
  • Is the company involved in any volunteering and any extra-curricular activities? Can I also be involved?
  • Do you provide any additional training for your interns/employees?
  • As employees of company name, could you summarise what is your experience working here? (this is my favourite as it puts them outside of their comfort zone)

Remember, the best questions you can ask are ones that you want to ask.

Finally, don't forget to iron your clothes. Look nice and presentable 👨‍💼

If they didn't want you for the role, they wouldn't invite you for an interview. The most important thing is to show that you are a nice person that they can spend an entire day with.

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