I may not be a headhunter but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s when you’re asked the dreaded, “Do you have any questions” you better have some well thought out interview questions. It’s a big red flag if you don’t.
The types of interview questions also matter. Definitely do not ask about salary or anything that could be answered by a basic Google search or a quick re-read of the job post. This is also a red flag. Ask thoughtful, concise questions that indicate to your interviewer that you looked at the website and you are thinking of this as more than a resume booster (even if it might be just that to you; fake it ’till you make it right).
So, as #internshipseason quickly approaches, whether it’s virtual or otherwise, here are some of the questions I usually ask at the end of my interviews.
- What are some characteristics of the most successful interns/fellows your organization has had? What foundations would you like to build upon?
- Do you see areas for improvement with the incoming interns?
- Can you describe your company’s culture?
- What is your favorite part of working at your company? Where do you see room for improvement? Follow up: What steps is your company/department taking to meet those goals?
- Where do you see this company going in the next five years?
- How has COVID-19 impacted your company’s daily operations and how will it impact this internship experience? >>>I also ask what their company is doing to support Black Lives Matter and uplift marginalized voices and employees. Definitely an important indication of company culture.
- Why did you start working at this company?
- Are there any any projects you’ve really enjoyed working on so far? What are you looking forward to working on in the future, if you can say?
- What do interns typically go onto do after this experience? Do they continue on in the field or pursue different career paths?
- Is there opportunities for networking with other members of the company/different departments during this internship?
- What is your goal for interns to take away from a professional experience like this?
- Outside of the job description, what are the day to day responsibilities of an intern? Is the work environment flexible?
- What type of work environment is this? Is it more dynamic and fast pace or stagnant and routine?
- What are major interpersonal skills the most successful interns have (if not stated in job description).
- Do you have any concerns about my qualifications and experience?
- Would you like me to expand on any answers I’ve given during this interview?
- What does a typical day at this company look like?
- Finally, if this does not come up naturally in the interview, make sure to find out who your direct supervisor is, whether or not the work is more independent or team oriented, and the expectations they have of you if they choose you for this role.
End of interview questions provide a final opportunity to make a good impression on your interviewers. Make sure to ask questions tailored to the internship/fellowship and the field you’re in. It also helps if they’re questions you genuinely want to know. Remember, this is the part of the interview where you get to know them just as much as they’re getting to know you, so make it count and think critically about what you want to learn about the company, their goals and the position.
I hope this was helpful! Happy internship hunting and be sure to drop your favorite questions to ask in the comments so we can all learn from each other.