‘Tis the season for securing an internship, but have no fear - we’ve got you covered. Here are our top four ways to prepare and secure your next internship.
1. Research like there’s no tomorrow
Remember when you used your stalking skills to learn everything about that one person who caught your eye? Now, it’s time to put those skills to use when it comes to your internship interview.
This step is the most crucial aspect of your interview preparation, as it can separate you from the other candidates. Here’s what to research:
- What are the company values? Does it align with yours? have any past experiences showcasing those values?
- Are they launching any products/services soon? What about their existing products - how are they performing?
- Who are their competitors? This is where you’d want to conduct a SWOT analysis to determine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and where they stand in the current industry.
- Scour through their website page by page. Check out their “about us” page section, their latest press coverages, what tone of voice they use and how they describe themselves in the market. It will help you to get a better understanding of the company as a whole.
- How would your role affect the company? For example, if you’re applying for a position in social media - what does their social media presence look like? How could you add to it?
2. Stalk the company profiles and connect with current employees
Once you’ve done a thorough run-through of who and what the company is like, it’s now time to stalk their company updates on LinkedIn and take a snoop at who currently works for them.
Pay attention to those in the same department as you. Drop them a line asking to connect and highlight your interest in the company, and would love to know their experience. It’s an excellent way to get to the company behind the screen whilst getting an insider’s scoop on what you might be doing as an intern.
Also, check to see if there are any current or past interns from the company. If so, drop them a message and ask what it was like to be an intern. This can help you see past the pretty picture the interviewer will paint and make an informed decision.
The point of this step is for you to know more about the company culture from current employees or interns. This can help you better understand what it might be like for you to be an intern at that company and ensure it’s in line with your career goals. Remember, you’re the CEO of your career!
3. Go through practice questions with a friend
When you’ve gathered as much information about the company and its work culture - it’s time to practice for your interview.
You can look up sample interview questions for internships in your industry and common interview questions such as “tell me about yourself” on places like Glassdoor as it typically has questions asked in past interviews. From there, you’ll want to use the STAR framework to create your response to the question.
The STAR framework stands for situation, task, action and results.
- So, what was the situation?
- What was the task as a response to the situation?
- What action did you take to solve the problem?
- What were the results of your actions?
By using this framework, you can ensure that your answers are clear and concise and you don’t accidentally start waffling or just don’t end up answering the question at all.
Once you’ve worked through some sample questions and have created your STAR responses to them, ask a friend, family member, university careers department to do a mock interview with you; if you don’t want to ask anyone, practice by recording yourself on your phone. This way you can analyse your responses in more detail This can help you gauge how you might appear when answering the questions. From here, you can make any necessary tweaks to your responses.
4. Prepare sample questions
This step often trips a lot of interviewees up, but not you! It’s essential to have a minimum of 3-5 questions ready to ask at the end of your interview. It’s often a major red flag to employers if you do not have any questions prepared for them. Here are few sample ones to get you started:
- If I were to be successful, what can I do to prepare for the role?
- Do you need me to clarify or elaborate on anything I said or that you read on my CV?
- What is your favourite thing about working for the company? (excellent work culture question and a great way to connect with the recruiter)
- “As someone who has interviewed many candidates are there any particular skills or areas of expertise that has caught your attention that I can work on to improve myself?”
Something to note here is to avoid questions that you could have found the answers to by looking at their website. This can make you seem unprepared for the interview. So instead, if you have a question about it even after reading about it on the website, you can start by mentioning that you came across it during your prep and would like to know more about it.
Once you’ve completed each step on our list, you are ready to kill it at your interview. Just don’t forget to show up early, dress appropriately, check your tech if it’s an online interview, thank the interviewer for their time and lastly - send a thank you email after the interview.
Need an expert to help you secure your internship? Give us a twirl at Capital Placement. You won’t regret it, we promise.