You’ve landed an interview for your dream internship. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to prepare. One of the most important things you can do is anticipate the types of questions you will be asked and practice how you’ll respond to them.

While it’s impossible to predict what questions an interviewer will ask, there is a good chance they will ask variations of these questions. When preparing for an interview, take the time to consider how you will respond instead of memorizing an answer. Working through the questions beforehand can calm your interview anxiety and give you the sense of confidence you need when you meet with the interviewer.

Let me also preface this with the fact that the common interview questions below can apply to both internships and apprenticeships. By working closely with a mentor, apprentices learn practical skills that take them farther in their professional careers than internships. Plus, apprenticeships are more widely accepted than internships in most industries.

Acadium Apprenticeships

Gain marketing experience

Work with a mentor for 3 months and gain the digital marketing work experience you need to get hired. 100% remote and always free.

Get Started

Preparing for your internship interview

The following internship interview questions and techniques will help you impress your prospective employer and, hopefully, secure the internship position you’ve always wanted.

Internship questions about you

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

What this question really means:

This is a question that internship interviewers love to ask. It seems like an easy question, but it can be tough to figure out what to say. Interviewers enjoy hearing stories about candidates. If you want an interviewer to root for you to win the job, make sure your story has a captivating beginning, a riveting middle, and an exciting end.

How you should frame your answer:

Share an incident that made you interested in the profession you are pursuing, followed by a discussion of your education. Describe how your academic training and passion for the industry or subject the company specializes in, combined with your work experience (if any), make you a great candidate. Mention any projects you’ve managed or designs you’ve worked on that are fun or offbeat.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a marketing role and previously shadowed a social media managing role for your friend’s business, you might want to highlight that experience. Also, talk about how your experience relates to what’s in the job description. Finally, finish by explaining why you are interested in the internship.

Top Tip: Be brief. Don’t go into details about everything that has happened to you since birth. Briefly describe your CV, your personality, and your interests. Try to keep it under two minutes.

2. What are your greatest strengths?

What this question really means:

Interviewers ask this question to determine whether your strengths match the needs of the company and the job’s responsibilities. An interviewer wants to see if you’re a good fit for the role you’re interviewing for. An interviewer’s goal is to match your credentials with the skills required to succeed.

How you should frame your answer:

Your best answer is to describe your skills and experience that directly relate to the job you’re applying for. List the criteria mentioned in the internship job description, and then follow the following steps:

  • Provide a list of your skills that match what the employer is looking for. Among these skills can be education or training, soft skills and hard skills, or past work experiences.
  • Focus on three to five particularly strong skills from your list.
  • Make a note next to each skill how you have applied them as your strength in the past.

In this way, you’ll be able to provide examples to the interviewer if he or she asks you about a particular strength.

For example, if you’re applying for a copywriter internship, you can state that your strengths are your adaptability and your ability to work both independently and with a team. Or perhaps you can mention how you can switch to various styles and formats and then, begin sharing a story about how you have used these skills in your past experience.

Top Tip: Don’t sound humble, shy, boastful, or arrogant. Also, avoid exaggerating your strengths and naming a laundry list of vague strengths.

3. What are your greatest weaknesses?

What this question really means:

Recruiters want to know three things when they ask you what your greatest weaknesses are: honesty, self-awareness, and willingness to improve.

How you should frame your answer:

We all have weaknesses and if you deny yours, you show that you’re not self-aware, which is a red flag for interviewers. Instead, try to turn your weakness into a strength. For example, if you’re not the best at public speaking, you could say that you’re working on it and that it’s not a problem when you have time to prepare.

Top Tip: Be honest about your weakness, but select one that isn’t directly related to the internship. Then, describe the steps you’re taking to improve yourself.

4. What are your hobbies?

What this question really means:

This question is trying to get to know you personally. The interviewer wants to know what you like to do in your free time if you’re passionate about certain things, and whether or not you have any hobbies related to the internship.

How you should frame your answer:

Provide honest answers to these types of intern interview questions but don’t go into so much detail about your hobbies that they threaten your commitment to the job. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing internship, you might want to talk about your hobby of taking pictures. This shows that you’re creative and have an eye for detail.

Top Tip: 

Do some research on the company before your interview and see if any of your hobbies or interests are compatible with the company’s culture. You should emphasize those interests if your interviewer asks this question. Don’t give answers that make you seem uninteresting or inappropriate. Don’t go overboard with your answers.

5. What do you think makes you unique?

What this question really means:

Essentially, this internship interview question means “What skills, qualities, and experiences make you the best candidate for this job?” It’s meant to see what qualities make you stand out from the crowd. Your knowledge of the job and the company will also be revealed by this question.

How you should frame your answer:

  • Elaborate on the skills listed in the job description.
  • Describe your background using examples. Cite your previous accomplishments.
  • Don’t use generic phrases like “I’m hardworking”. Your answer should be compelling.
  • Make sure you highlight key personality traits that will help you achieve similar results in the future.
  • Let the interviewer know how your unique skills will benefit the company.

Applicants for internships in SEO, for instance, can state that they’re logical and use analytics to solve problems, or that they’re emotional and creative at the same time. Consider the example of a graphic designer who not only used his creativity in creating designs for landing pages but also used his analytic skills to resolve a particular problem in a marketing campaign.

Finding someone who can do both is rare. Bringing these two aspects together is an impressive ability you should highlight if you think you can do it.

Top Tip:  Be sure to focus on qualities that would be beneficial in the internship.

6. What are your thoughts on failure?

What this question really means:

There are several reasons why an interviewer will ask this question (and other questions about failure). Firstly, it might be intended to assess your ability to handle setbacks, and secondly, the interviewer might want to know if you’re willing to push yourself (through failure) to become a better intern that will prepare you for the real world.

How you should frame your answer:

Talk about a time when you failed and what you learned from the experience. Remember to emphasize that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Top Tip: 

In your answer, highlight the soft skills you possess that enable you to deal with pending failure. A list of these competencies might include strategic planning, time management, process analysis, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.

7. What are your thoughts on work/life balance?

What this question really means:

This question evaluates your ability to manage your time and handle stress.

How you should frame your answer:

Think about the culture of the company before you answer. In cases where the employer values work-life balance or time management skills, be sure to emphasize your ability to complete work during work hours so that you can concentrate on family or other activities afterward.

You can also mention during an interview that having a good work-life balance makes you more productive and stress-free. Your performance increases, and you are able to deliver better results on your own or in a team with a focused mind.

Many companies and individuals value an honest approach. During an interview, you should also market yourself effectively. The point isn’t just about what you want, but also about what the other side of the table wants.

Top Tip: Reflect on these questions: How do you define work-life balance? How often do you study or work late because of an urgent matter? How much do you enjoy working? Are you constantly checking your phone?

8. What are your favorite and least favorite classes?

What this question really means:

The purpose of this internship interview question is to determine whether you fit with the company. You are also likely to be evaluated on how you handle yourself during the interview, such as whether you make valid, cogent points or say something offensive or negative by mistake.

How you should frame your answer:

Identify your interests and assess how they relate to the internship. If you’re interviewing for an internship in the marketing department, it would be beneficial to mention that your favorite class is marketing research.

On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for an internship in accounting, it would be beneficial to mention that your least favorite class is Math.

Top Tip: Make sure your least favorite classes aren’t important to the job you’re applying for.

Internship questions about your qualifications

9. What skills can you bring to the company?

What this question really means:

In this type of interview question, the interviewer aims to determine whether you are confident in your abilities, to hear what you think your top strengths are, and to learn what you could contribute to the company if you get accepted for the internship. Additionally, they want to see that you’ve researched the company and job thoroughly.

How you should frame your answer:

Reading the job posting will help you prepare an answer to this question. Once that is done, write down all your qualities and skills that match the requirements listed in the posting. Identify two or three things that make you unique.

As an example, if you’re applying for a content marketing internship, you might want to talk about your experience in content writing or your creativity.

Top Tip: Find out what value you can add to the company.

10. What do you think makes a successful internship?

What this question really means:

The purpose of this question is to get your opinion on what it takes to be successful in an internship.

How you should frame your answer:

In order to succeed in a particular career field, you need an internship that provides you with the knowledge and skills you need. In this case, you might want to talk about the importance of a positive attitude, taking initiative, and being a team player.

Top Tip: 

Each individual has their own set of personal goals and expectations when it comes to internships. So, when this question is asked during your interview, make sure you have done your homework.

Salary internship questions

11. What are your salary expectations?

What this question really means:

This intern interview question is designed to test your negotiating skills.

How you should frame your answer:

The key is researching before the interview to know what the internship pays. Then, ask for a salary aligned with your experience and skills. For example, if you’re a college student with no prior work experience, you might want to ask for a lower salary than someone with five years of experience.

A quick note: There are varying levels of compensation for interns and apprentices depending on the position. It is also common for internships and apprenticeships to be unpaid, especially if their work experience counts toward academic credit.

Yet, even unpaid internships or apprenticeships provide valuable life experience and professional connections that you can use if you continue working for the company.

In our marketing apprenticeship here at Acadium, you get the chance to work for only 10 hours a week over the span of three months and receive one hour of mentorship each week from a real-life business owner.

Similarly, you can earn career experience by working in exchange for mentorship. This gives you the opportunity to practice your marketing skills or other preferred skills and you might even be hired by your mentor.

As a result of the program, you will be provided with a certificate of completion, a testimonial from the mentor, and the opportunity to network with professionals.

Top Tip: In order to prepare a response for a paid internship or apprenticeship, you should understand how much an intern/apprentice in your industry and area typically earn. By doing so, you will be able to determine a reasonable salary range for the position.

Internship questions about the Future

12. What are your career goals?

What this question really means:

An interviewer wants to know whether you plan to stay at the company (or if you will apply after your internship), or if you will leave as soon as possible. It is very common for interviewers to ask future-focused questions. By using this tactic, employers can discover if you have any long-term goals or visions.

How you should frame your answer:

Evaluate whether your long-term goals align with the company’s mission. For example, if you’re interviewing for a social media marketing internship and your goal is to become a social media marketing manager, you would be a good fit for the company. However, if your goal is to become an accountant, you might not be the best fit.

Top Tip: This question can be answered in a variety of ways. Keep the company in mind when answering this question. Personal goals should not be shared with the company if they do not align with their vision for the future.

13. What are your plans for the summer?

What this question really means:

This one is designed to determine whether or not you are interested in the internship.

How you should frame your answer:

If you’re eager to be part of the company’s internship program, your answer should be specific and focus on what you hope to accomplish during the internship. For example, you might want to discuss your plans to learn new skills or gain experience in a certain area.

Internship questions about your job performance

14. Could you describe an assignment or project from start to finish–what went well and what could have been improved?

What this question really means:

Interviewers ask this question for a variety of reasons. The interviewer wants to find out how well you can manage a project or situation, how you deal with challenges, and how your skills would help you to lead a project successfully.

Furthermore, they are interested in your work ethic, as well as your ability to deal with stress.

How you should frame your answer:

Consider past projects or assignments as a starting point. List the situations that did not turn out the way you expected.

Consider the actions you took (or didn’t take) that resulted in a less-than-ideal outcome. After experiencing those initial disappointments, identify similar scenarios where you performed differently. How did you strengthen your ability to handle similar situations in the future after the negative result?

Top Tip: A good response is one that reflects positively on you. This means that you should focus on what you did after the negative event, rather than the event itself.

15. Can you tell me about a time you had to learn something new quickly?

What this question really means:

The interviewers are looking for more than a one-time success. They’re looking for a proven strategy to gather information and use it effectively. It also measures your adaptability and flexibility in acquiring new skills. Additionally, they want to know if you are comfortable with rapid learning.

How you should frame your answer:

Use the STAR method which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is a great way to make sure that your answers are on point while also providing enough information to the interviewer.

  • Situation – Describe briefly the situation you found yourself in
  • Task – What was the challenge you had to overcome?
  • Action – How did you resolve the issue?
  • Result – How did your actions turn out?

This method can also be applied to many internship questions we’ve discussed.

Top Tip: Talk about a time when you had to learn something new quickly and how you did it. Be sure to focus on how well you did and what you learned from the experience.

16. Do you work better alone or with a team?

What this question really means:

This question is asked by potential employers because some positions require staff members or interns to work in teams daily while others require them to work alone. Your interviewers are genuinely interested in what type of work environment you prefer. The interviewer can also learn more about the candidate’s self-knowledge and character from this interview.

How you should frame your answer: The answer will usually depend on your application position. If you’re applying for a position that requires a lot of independent work, such as a writing internship, you might want to say that you work better alone. However, if the internship involves working with a team, such as a sales internship, you’ll want to say that you work better with a team and be able to provide an example to support the statement.

Top Tip: As long as you explain why you feel the way you do, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Think about your school assignments and projects. What type of work suited you best?

Questions about the Company and the Internship Program

17. What do you know about our company and our internship program?

What this question really means:

This internship interview question tests your research skills. Job-seekers who are careful and selective are always in demand by some companies.

How you should frame your answer: 

It is best to mention specific facts you found while researching the company that demonstrates that you understand their business, how their internship program goes, and know their organization before applying. The company website, social media channels, news articles, and more can serve as sources for facts.

For example, if you have researched the company for its marketing internship, you might use the social media engagement and positive feedback you find on their profiles to talk about their top-quality customer service and how that is important when it comes to building relationships with customers then align that with your goal as a marketer.

Top Tip: By taking the time to do your research beforehand, you can show the interviewer that you’re excited about the opportunity and have given it some thought.

18. What do you hope to gain from this internship?

What this question really means:

A prospective employer may ask you what you expect from the available job in order to differentiate you from other entry-level or internship applicants. As you answer this question, you will be able to give the interviewer a better sense of whether you and the company would be a good fit to gain on-the-job training experience.

How you should frame your answer: 

  • Give an explanation of what attracted you to the position in the first place. If you’re seeking a role in social media marketing, for example, you may come across job descriptions that require you to assist with the social media accounts of the company, have good communication and collaboration skills, and be willing to learn. Let the interviewer know about these are the things you are looking for in an internship.
  • Describe your motivations. An example might be to discuss aspects of a company’s social media strategy that you admire and explain why you think it can be beneficial for you.
  • Indicate how the job aligns with your career goals. Showing your ambition and motivation for a successful career can demonstrate your eagerness and enthusiasm for the job. If you are applying for a job during or shortly after graduating from college, you might discuss courses or professors who helped inspire or direct you towards a certain career path and how that aligns with the work this company does.
  • Your answers should be grounded and realistic. Discussing your willingness to grow and learn as a professional can be helpful when answering this question. Show off your work ethic to impress the interviewer even if you don’t have much work experience yet.

Top Tip: Evaluate your goals for the internship. For example, if you’re hoping to gain experience in a certain field or learn new skills, you would be a good fit for the internship. However, you might not be the best fit if you only look for a paycheck.

Internship questions to ask

19. What questions do you have for me?

Here is your chance to ask the interviewer any questions you might have about the internship or the company. This shows that you’re interested in the opportunity and have given it some thought. Some questions you could ask include:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the internship?
  • What projects will I be working on?
  • Who will I be reporting to?
  • What are the expectations for the internship?
  • Is there potential for full-time employment after the internship?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?

By asking questions, you can get a better sense of whether or not the internship is a good fit for you.

How to act during your interview

First and foremost, be yourself! The internship interview is your opportunity to show the interviewer who you are and what you’re capable of. Be confident in your abilities and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, skills, and qualifications. This is your chance to sell yourself to the interviewer and convince them that you’re the best candidate for the internship.

Also, take the initiative to share work samples with the hiring manager if you have any. It is customary to present a portfolio in interviews. Having a portfolio gives visual credence to what you say you can do and makes you stand out among the sea of candidates.

Be sure to ask questions about the internship, company, and position. This shows that you’re interested in the opportunity and have given it some thought.

Finally, follow up with a thank-you note after your interview. This is your chance to thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the internship. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to ace your internship interview!

Ready to rock your internship interview?

Find your dream job with Acadium’s Marketing Apprenticeship Program!

Acadium specializes in finding the best marketing apprenticeships for students of all backgrounds and experience levels. With apprenticeships in Social Media, Graphic Design, SEO, and Google Ads, there’s something for everyone.

Applying is easy: simply create a profile on the Acadium website, complete the onboarding process, and connect you with a vetted marketing mentor that fits your needs. With Acadium’s apprenticeship program, you’ll the opportunity to expand your skillset and benefit from hands-on experience. The Acadium team will work with you to figure out what you’re looking for and match you with a mentor that will help you reach your goals. You’ll also get a certification and real-world, hands-on expertise that will set you apart from the crowd once you’ve completed your apprenticeship.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, apply for an apprenticeship with Acadium today!