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5 Common Internship Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

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By Punyaslok Rath:

Summer internship season is here, and the race to seize the best opportunities has begun. An early window to the professional world, internships have always served as a great learning curve for students. Companies are realizing the importance of well-implemented internship programs and students, purported by their curriculum needs, are eager to grab a chance in the best of them. Not only is it a very worthy addition to the CV, it also gives invaluable experience. It goes a long way to prepare yourself for work in your chosen field or, at many times, helps in deciding what field you should choose.

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With benefits galore, it has become very important to be adept in facing internship interviews. Most interviews revolve around the same set of questions. Let’s have a look at the most common ones, and how to answer them –

1. Tell us about yourself.

The employer wants to know more than what your resume already states. This question serves as an opener and the things you say will be used to constitute further questions. Try making a short and condensed career summary for an answer. For example, ‘About my education, I did my schooling from XYZ School in Dehradun and I’m currently pursuing B.Tech in Civil Engineering from ABC University. My hobbies are writing and reading novels.’

You could, in addition, briefly establish a connection between your educational background or your interests and the internship you are applying for: ‘I designed a website during my college-fest and started working as a freelancer after that. I have the know-how to take up this course development internship, and I expect to enrich my knowledge further through this program.’

2. Why do you want to intern here? What do you know about the company/industry?

The employer wants to know how much you have researched about the company, and how much you know of the related field. Say you’re interviewing for an internship with RBI, and if you can talk confidently about the recent financial trends and the decisions that RBI took – it will give a huge boost to your chances of getting in.

Highlight the aspects of the company that you considered when you decided to apply there. Absolutely avoid mentioning that you’re doing it only to fulfil your curriculum requirement. Instead, add what you expect to learn from your position and the company, and include a bit on how you could contribute. For example, ‘I have always wanted to own a start-up, and an internship with Internshala will help me take the initial step. I was always intrigued by the unique business model at work here and would love to learn all about it. I feel that I can prove to be an asset on the product-marketing front, given my previous internship experiences at ABC and XYZ.’

3. What makes you a good candidate for this internship?

There are two facets of this question – educational and personal.

Read the job description and make sure that you are a perfect fit for the position. Tie your educational background to the responsibilities that you will have to handle during. If you are applying for a cross-stream profile (mechanical guy applying for a coding internship), then bring forth and elaborate on the experiences that piqued your interest in the field related to the internship.

‘Even though I study mechanical engineering, being at the fore-front of the organizing teams for many events in my college has exposed me to the management field. I would like to do an MBA in the future and this program would help me garner relevant experience.’

Highlight your personal characteristics and reinforce them with examples. A lot of students use pointless platitudes as an answer, something they should never do. Saying ‘I am very innovative’ doesn’t have the same effect as saying ‘I marketed my college fest for the first time through websites with target audience was a college-going crowd. That proved to be very effective.’

‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ or ‘Why should we hire you?’ – are some other questions that fall in this category. While highlighting your personal characteristics along with practical examples speaks well of your strengths, answering the weakness part can be tricky. Make sure that you do not project anything negative. Try voicing your weakness as a learning experience, as something that is a sort of a challenge, and how you overcame it.

‘Socializing used to be a challenge for me but I joined various clubs in college, and now I can safely say that I have overcome it.’

4. What are your future goals? or Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?

Employers ask this to understand your aspirations better, to check if this internship aligns with your future goals and thus, it ensures that you will be motivated to learn.

‘After my Bachelors I am planning to do an MBA, and the experience of working at an NGO, where a lot of ground work is involved, will help me understand the nuances of working on the field better.’

A few employers use this question to ascertain whether or not you will continue with the company if offered a permanent position.

5. Do you have any questions for us?

Yes. Always say yes. Not asking a question will mean that either you have not researched about the position/company, or you are not very keen on the internship. After all, the interview is also meant to facilitate your learning of the company and its employees. Here are a few sample questions –

Can you give me an example of a project that I could be expected to work on?

What is the typical career path of the interns or the employees of this department?

What will be my day-to-day responsibilities?

Is there any sort of training that I will be receiving?

However, you need to avoid certain questions like –

What salary, vacation time and benefits do I get?

Did I get the internship?

Most of the internship interviews are telephonic, and now that you know the expected questions, you can write the answers and refer to them during the interview.

Sometimes though, there could be questions which can very well be described as ‘out-of-the-world’!

Read how to tackle the 8 types of weird interview questions here. If you have ever given an internship interview and have something more to add – we would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Note: This article was contributed by Internshala – India’s leading internship portal.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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