Spring is in the air and if you are a college student, you are probably well on your way to applying for your summer internship.
One of the first goals when you set out on an internship search is to be called for an interview, but then what?
Preparation is obviously essential but interviews can be tricky for even the most seasoned experts.
Most prospective interns set off for their job interviews prepared and ready to answer basic questions like why they want to work at the company and why they are the best person for the job. But what if you get asked something crazy?
What if you’re asked a question like why are manholes on the street round? What is your favorite movie or day of the week? What if they want to know whether you’re a Mac or a PC person, or ask you how your fellow classmates would describe you?
Sometimes no matter how much effort you put into preparing for your interview, there will always be one question that catches you off guard.
The funny thing is, it’s usually the more personal questions that people struggle with in an interview. More than likely you will be prepared to answer every possible question about the company and the job, but you forget focus on you!
The following 7 difficult interview questions should help you prepare to land your dream role.
1. Why do you want to intern here?
The interviewer wants see that you are genuinely interested in this internship and have thought carefully about this position. They don’t want to hire an intern that just submitted their resume for the first internship they found.
So what can you do? Do your homework! Research the company, industry and what the role will require. If you can show that you and the company will be a good fit, you will really stand out.
2. What do you expect this position to be like?
Another question to test your research skills. The interviewer wants to see that see that you have researched what the internship will require and that you have realistic goals on the tasks you can expect to be doing.
3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The interviewer wants to see if this internship fits with your long-term goals (if you have any!). This is not the time for personal answers. Yes we all want to travel the world but what they are really looking for is to see that you have given some thought to your future career and that this internship fits with that career path.
4. What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
When an interviewer asks this question, what they really want to know is what makes you tick. They want to know what you value and what you enjoy doing. Ultimately, their job is to hire the person who is the perfect fit for both the job and the company. They want to know that you are motivated and can always find a way to work hard and do your best, even if the going gets tough.
5. Why should we hire you?
This question is all about selling yourself. Everyone that made it to the interview stage stood out on paper as being good for the job. Now that you are in front of the interviewer you have to convince them that you (and only you!) are the best person for this position. But be careful, there is a right and wrong way to do this.
A wrong thing to say would be, I need this internship for college credit. Or, I am really hard-working and want to work for this company. Everyone likes to think they are hard-workers and this answer could then lead to a another question… why this company?
Really what you should be doing is convincing the interviewer that:
- You can do the job and deliver amazing results
- You will fit with the company and be a team player
- You have skills that make you stand out from the other interns interviewing for this position
Try to prepare an answer that highlights the top 3 or 4 reasons for why they should hire you. Make sure your answer relates to the position and stick to just 3 or 4 strong points (not 10 or 12)! Being clear and concise in why you are ideal for this role is key.
6. Do you have any questions?
Never say no! This is one of the most commonly asked questions in interviews and most people say no! Not only is this the wrong answer, you are also missing out on a golden opportunity to find out more about the company and the role. If you want this internship then it is essential that you ask questions, and not just any questions. These questions should relate to the job, the company and the industry.
A good tip is to ask questions that already place you in the internship. Mentally, you are showing the interviewer that you already see yourself in this job and with this company. Some of the following question are a good way to do this:
- What would a typical work day/week be like for me?
- After I start, what tasks and projects would the first few weeks involve for me?
- Are there any special projects coming up that you would you like me to work on?
7. Why is a manhole round?
You may be laughing, but this is not a trick question. Interns have been asked this question in the past! This is a question with an obvious answer that the interviewer could use to test your common sense.
The answer is one that only those who pay attention would know. So what is the answer? Manhole covers are round because it prevents the lid from falling into the sewer.
You just never know when paying attention to the little things in life could come in handy.
Like I already said, no matter how much you prepare there will always be those difficult interview questions that stump you. The key is to not panic, take a deep breath, and always keep the position and why you are the best person for the job at the top of your mind. Once you have secured the internship you can then focus your attention on being the best intern ever.