10 best questions to ask potential interns

When it comes to filling an internship at your organization, you will definitely want the right fit for the job. There are many students out there who simply need the credits or a good mark on their resume. However, you are searching for someone who is ambitious and passionate about your industry. Narrowing down the applicants in your pool will all come down to the interview. Here are ten of the best questions to ask potential interns.

1. Tell me about yourself.

You are seeking information about professional background and education in a nutshell. Asking this question early on in the interview will help you to get a feel of how well the person being interviewed speaks and presents themselves. Look for ties between their background and the internship you are trying to fill.

2. Why do you want to intern/train here?

Internship Interviews

See if your potential intern has done their homework about the company. What makes your organization special from the rest? Observe what the applicant looks to gain from the experience with the company and what they look to add as well. Does the applicant want the internship solely out of convenience i.e.. location or credit? If so this may be a red flag.

3. What do you know about this industry?

The key is to decipher a Wikipedia answer from authentic knowledge. Listen out for industry jargon and other key points that display tailored knowledge of the field. A motivated, knowledgeable answer will show just how prepared the person is for the internship at hand.

4. What do you know about our company?

Similar to question two, this question can allow the applicant to further expound on the basic knowledge of your company.

5. What specific skills do you possess that would relate to this position?

If the internship is very meticulous and requires great attention to detail, your applicant will need to have these skills in order to do well. Keep in mind that the purpose of the internship is to help shape and mold someone for the industry. So with that in mind, remember to look more for character skills than actual experience.

6. What makes you a good candidate for the position?

Ask the applicant to be specific. You have already listened to their background and knowledge. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Ask the potential intern to give examples of how they have shined in situations requiring any of the same skills needed for the position.

7. Tell me about your strengths. 

As with the previous question, ask for examples of the person’s strengths instead of a list of characteristics. You want to be sure that this person is creative and motivated so the more hands on life experiences, the better.

8. What is your biggest weakness?

It’s hard for anyone to divulge weakness to others, especially in an interview.  Keep an eye out for genuine honesty and possible solutions that the hopeful intern has found to overcome this weakness.

9. Why should I hire you?

Let the applicant put in their own words why they are the best fit for the job.

10. What are your goals for the future?

Has the applicant laid out a good, obtainable plan for the future?  Listen out for how your internship plays a role in the future of this aspirant intern.

Keep notes from your interviews to compare when it’s time to make the final cut.  Need more information about hosting internship programs?  Download the free Employer Guide on How to Structure a Successful Internship.

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About bridge.jobs

Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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