Dec 28, 2023
Whether you’re applying for an internship or a new job, acing the interview is an important step toward securing an offer. It’s also an opportunity to feel out the organization and decide if it’s a good match. It’s best to come to interviews prepared with questions of your own. They can help you clarify the role and learn more about the organization. Let’s get into what questions to ask in an interview.
Landing a great internship can expand your network and beef up your résumé before graduating college. Here are some questions to ask internship interviewers.
You can keep their answers in mind as you move through the rest of the discussion. For example, if they say they value interns who are quick under pressure, you might share an experience where you had to adapt to the unexpected and solve a problem swiftly.
This question can give you an idea of what an average day looks like for an intern. You’ll ideally find an internship that involves impactful projects to help build your résumé. The goal is to come out the other side with practical skills that will apply to your first job after college. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics during the interview.
Some organizations have robust internship programs that include regular lunch-and-learns, guest speakers, and other professional development resources. You might even have the opportunity to shadow different employees and learn from their experiences. If so, one of them could be your next mentor.
Speaking of mentors, the organization may have an internal mentorship program for college interns. This could be a great way to connect with someone who’s already working in the field. They can likely share their experience and provide guidance before you begin your own job search after graduation.
You can research this a bit beforehand. Look online to see what past and current employees have said about the company. Have most had a pleasant experience? During the interview, ask about the organization’s core values and how they put them into practice. It’s an important question that could help you avoid a toxic work environment.
Now for the nuts and bolts. Is the internship in person, remote, or hybrid? If a remote internship is on the table, it could open up your prospects—allowing you to apply for internships in other parts of the world. The interview is also a good time to ask about your schedule and the company dress code.
Just like an internship interview, you’ll want to clarify the work hours and if the position is on site, remote, or hybrid. It’s also wise to ask about the dress code and company culture. Here are some additional questions to ask potential employers.
The job posting probably outlined the necessary skills and experience, but you can use the interview to:
Will you be thrown right in on the first day? Or will you participate in specific training sessions or workshops to help you get the lay of the land? Once you’re up to speed, will the company be supportive of ongoing professional development opportunities?
This question can help you understand what your professional path might look like at the organization. If there isn’t much room for growth, but you’re excited about the job, you could take the position for a couple of years before moving onto another company.
This question speaks to the company culture. Ask the interviewer how the company prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and what that looks like in practice. Many organizations also offer employee resource groups for workers who have a shared identity. That might include race, gender or sexual identity, religion, and more. These groups can provide support at work and foster positive relationships with your coworkers.
Compensation is about more than your salary. See if the organization offers:
This may have been included in the job posting, but it’s still worth discussing—and remembering that you may be able to negotiate. Even if it’s your first job out of college, strong internship experience could give you leverage during salary negotiations. Before the interview, research salaries for similar positions in your area. That can give you a starting point.
It’s good practice to send a personalized thank-you note after an interview. This can be a brief email thanking the interviewer for their time and reiterating your enthusiasm and fit for the role. If you get an offer, be sure the position is aligned with your professional goals before accepting. Also ask yourself if it feels like a good match in terms of company culture and compensation.