When it comes to internships, nobody wants to get stuck with a dud. We need to look for clues to what it will be like to work for the company, which means doing thorough research and asking questions that reveal the true nature of the job and the company.
Here’s why you should ask your interviewer these revealing questions:
- It’s the only way to know if you’ve got a good one on the hook (or if this fish needs be thrown back to sea).
- The second reason is that asking a revealing question shows that you did your homework before you arrived. Interviewers love that.
Here are a few questions that will help you make that decision before you ever leave the building. Some are for you to check out the culture of the company, others are to show you did your research.
What is the onboarding process?
Internships may last only a few months, so need to hit the ground racing.
You want to know that there is an onboarding process to get you started.
This question will tell you who will greet you and introduce you to the person you report to, show you around and make you a part of the team. If they tell you to just show up at the front desk, that may be a red flag waving.
Can you tell me about your training process?
First days at work are totally awkward unless you have someone to acclimate you. Asking this question will tell if you’re on your own, assigned a mentor or if there is a training program.
If they invest in your training that’s a very good sign they take interns seriously.
If you’re only going to be fetching coffee for your entire stint, you want to know. Believe it or not, there really are internships out there that give credit just for this. We’re going to take a stab in the dark and assume that you’re interested in actually learning a thing or two that will help your career. So, an internship program that offers a valid training protocol would be your best bet.
What are some qualities that have helped past interns succeed in your program?
Finding out (ahead of time) if you have what it takes to make it to the top of the list is always a good thing. You want to understand what skills are required in order for you to succeed at not only the internship but in your career.
It also shows you actually care about improving yourself.
How will my performance be evaluated?
This question is about more than just quizzing them. It is also a great way to express your interest in having feedback on the performance of the work you’re doing for them. You’re going to be working hard, and you deserve to have some clear expectations to follow. This question shows that you care about the quality of your work and want to exceed expectations.
Do interns have the opportunity for full-time employment and job growth after the internship?
Some companies will offer their interns a full-time position if they do an outstanding job, and that’s an attractive feature for most of us. It’s also a great opportunity for you to work your way up the ladder without the usual stress and fuss associated with job searching. This question will give you some insight into their hiring process for full-time staff.
What is the company culture like?
Company culture is super important today. Young people care a great deal about this, and why not? Many big companies like Google and Facebook want to attract top talent and go a long way to appeal to them. Facebook’s famous food fest is a well-known perk.
Look for things like “We foster a collaborative culture”, “Interns are always included in strategy meetings” or “We sponsor many events that bring our teams together.”
This shows they are nurturing a do-it-together environment, which is more fun to work in and where you’ll meet people and grow because of that.
Last but not least…
Ask a specific question related to the company. It could be about something you read about in a press release. For instance, if you saw they launched a new product or expanded an offering, ask about that. “How did the (Insert new product or service here) come about? How is it impacting sales?”
- Check out leadership profiles on LinkedIn. See where they went to school. Maybe there’s a connection there.
- See if they are involved in a charity that you support. Ask about that.
- See what the last job they held was. Ask how this one differs and how it has changed their career path or even their lives.
- Researching the company from both a business and personal perspective will give you some great ideas of things to ask. be creative here. Jobs have been won by showing a high level of interest and asking a detailed, leading question.
- Before you leave, ask if there is anything you haven’t covered or if there is anything else they need form you. See what the next steps are.
- Follow up with a hand-written thank you note…immediately.
Internships are an excellent choice for many reasons, but you don’t want to accept whatever is offered to you and hope for the best. Being able to ask questions and express genuine interest during the interview is what is going to make you seen and remembered, but it also gives you a peek into the company you could potentially be working for. Make the most of that opportunity. Don’t be shy; ask all the questions you need!