Ask the intern: How to ace your interview and land the internship of your dreams
“Hi Laetitia, I’ve scheduled an interview with The Intern Group next week and I’m quite nervous about it as I’m not too sure what to expect. Do you have any tips on what to prepare or how to do well in an interview for an international internship?” – Anna
Hello Anna! Yes, interviews can be very nerve-racking, but once you know how to prepare, there’s really nothing to worry about. Interviewers simply want to know more about you and your experience, in order to help them decide whether you would be a good fit for the position. I’ve recently had to interview candidates myself and I can tell you that interviewers can get anxious too! To give you a better idea of what to expect, we have a very useful post which outlines the interview process with the Admissions Team here at The Intern Group. Once you know how the interview will be conducted, you can start preparing. Here are my top six tips on how to do well in an interview for your international internship.
1) Be punctual
Even though your interview will be over the phone or via Skype, punctuality is still very important. It looks unprofessional to miss a scheduled call and it shows that you are not taking the interview process seriously. Our Admissions Officers have interviews scheduled every 30 minutes, so you do not want to waste their time by not picking up the phone and delaying your interview. If you want to be considered for the position, take note of your interview time and make sure that you are ready at least 10 minutes before the call in order to read over your resume and your notes.
2) Do your research
It can be difficult to guess which questions you will be asked in an interview, but a good way to prepare is to research the company. What does the company do? The Intern Group is the leading provider of international internship programs, so be prepared to explain why you would like to do one of their programs, and how you think this experience will benefit you and your future career. Go the extra mile with your research. For example, did you know that if you’re accepted onto the London program, you get to spend a night at the theater in the West End watching a show? Or that, as part of the Madrid program, you get to do a tour of Real Madrid’s football stadium? Tell the interviewer that you can’t wait for these cultural events. The fact that you have researched the company will really impress the interviewer as this demonstrates interest and initiative.
3) Be memorable
The Admissions Team interview numerous candidates every day, so make sure that you stand out from the crowd. In my previous blog post, I said that CVs or resumes are reserved for factual information, and your opinions and passion should be portrayed in the interview. Well, now is the time to do it! Try and pick out the most interesting parts of your past experience to talk about. Sell yourself. Don’t worry about repeating content from your resume, in fact, interviewers will want to hear about your experiences directly. If you have an unusual hobby, or have been traveling before, then mention it! When it comes to making decisions, you want to be at the fore-front of the interviewer’s mind so that they consider you over more standard applicants.
4) Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm can sometimes make or break an interview decision. If you sound excited and genuinely interested in doing an international internship then you will immediately be a more attractive candidate than someone who simply wants something to boost their resume.
5) Ask questions
At the end of the interview, be sure to ask intelligent questions. Make sure that you check the FAQ pages before the interview, as many questions are answered here already, and it further demonstrates your research skills. We have a great blog post about smart questions to ask during an interview. Asking questions will show that you are truly interested in the position. It’s also okay to ask for clarification if you are not sure about something; you are not expected to know everything!
6) Don’t worry!
If you make a mistake, or say something without thinking, don’t worry! Don’t let it affect the rest of your interview. Make sure that you follow the rest of tips above to make up for it. Interviewers know that people get nervous and make mistakes, and are not expecting things to be flawless. Most importantly, don’t over-think things. This interview process is a great opportunity to show yourself off and talk to people who are just as passionate about the same subjects as you. Soon, you’ll be on the other side and will realise that there isn’t much to worry about after all.
Need advice or tips about interning abroad? Write to me at: laetitia@theinterngroup.
All photos based on. The Intern Group.