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How do I prepare for interview for an Intership?

I am a junior in college have been applying to summer internships and recently heard back from one that I am very interested in. They want to schedule an interview. I have never had an internship and while I am not under qualified, I'm sure there will be applicants with more experience. That being said, I am confident that I have what it takes to contribute meaningfully as an intern, but I think a convincing interview would really help. The interview may be over skype or in person, not sure if that changes anything. I also don't have a lot of businessy clothes so I will have to go shopping for those and honestly don't where to start as far as what to wear to an interview for an internship with a senator. Any thoughts? I know generally what sort of questions to expect, but I'd like to hear from people who have experienced it. Any questions I should give more thought to? are there nay standard questions? How different is it from a job interview? (I know it depends on the job but generally speaking) Are there any things that I should not mention? #college #career #internships #career-path #interviews #interviewing-skills #summer-internship #confidence

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Kelsey’s Answer

You can prepare for your internship by researching the company, or in this case the senator, you are applying with. Make sure you understand what the job/internship entails and prep by thinking about how your skills or past experience make you a good fit. That way you can speak confidently during the interview, because you've already thought it over.

Make sure you've got an up to date resume - if you need help I recommend reaching out to the advising office at your school. Most colleges have a career development staff who can help you write a resume and provide proof reading.

As for clothing - appearances matter, but that doesn't mean you need to spend a ton of money. Like other people said in their answers, make sure you look neat, pulled together, and professional. I would recommend checking the senators website or social sites, there might be pictures of current/past interns to give you outfit ideas.

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Malati’s Answer

Michelle, firstly I have to say that I have never applied for an internship to a senator! However I have in my long career of over 30 years conducted thousands of interviews of young people, including those with no experience. I hope my tips will help you. All the best!

Firstly, most interviewers, particularly when they interview freshers, are looking more for attitude, aptitude and how she answers, even more than what those answers are. An internship interview should not be too different from a job interview in my view, particularly if the expectation is that it will grow into a job if all goes well.

In most interviews the interviewer looks for a candidate who is intelligent, articulate and quick-witted. Someone who is agile and mentally alert. And most importantly someone who is honest and has high integrity. Sometimes they are looking for people who are highly organised and will look for evidence in your resume and your appearance to show that you are. Sometimes people are looking for someone who is vey creative and will look for such evidence. If they are looking to hire for a difficult, client-facing position, they will look for someone who is always relaxed and pleasant, even if the questions are tough.

So it would be good to get as much background info as you can about this person you re going to work for and what qualities the job will require and prepare accordingly.

Re clothes I would always advise formals for an interview. Well ironed and simple but elegant, with no frills and ornaments. Well-polished shoes, neatly combed and held hair – in short everything that says you are neat and minimalistic. Subdued hues of make up – nothing obvious. Nothing that jingles☺

Make a list of typical questions (some are given below but there are many sites online which will give you more). Make sure you are honest in every answer. work the answers in your mind until you are clear what you are going to say. That will ensure you don't stammer or fumble when answering them. Make sure you are smiling throughout the interview – but not grinning or being facetious☺

At a first interview you will normally be asked simple things like:
1. Tell us something about yourself. (Wonderful opportunity to take the interview the way you want to by stressing on those aspects you would love to talk about.)
2. Why did you choose (the subject of your study) to study?
3. How do you find it correlates with this position?
4. Why do you want to take this position?
5. Why should we consider you above the others?
6. What are your key strengths? Weaknesses?
7. Tell us about an experience (that you cherish/ want to forget/ succeeded at/ failed at/ learned from etc.)
8. What are your views on (issues related to the political affiliations of the senator)?
9. What are your future plans?

There will be questions directly related to the role you are seeking to play and the issues related to it – which I am sure you will figure out by studying the position clearly. Make a list of those questions too and prepare yourself with answers. Never memorise the answers! But prepare so you are not caught off guard and do not have to think too hard to get an answer. All the best Michelle! ☺

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Carole’s Answer

Hi Michelle

This is an area where I suggest you act with care. An internship is not a normal job, because the main compensation you gain from an internship is a "REAL WORLD" experience and new skills from what you do in the internship. It is a resume builder for the intern and some people do get hired. It may also be a an audition for a prospective entry for a potential hire. you want to go into this internship with the idea that you are learning and they are giving you education. Internship has always been unpaid in the past, now there are a few companies who will pay, but that is not for your to ask. You don't want to seem greedy, but you do want them to know that you are interested in learning about their company and acquire some great skill from it.

Some internship will have a fixed salary and they will show it in the job description or let you know what that is. A lot of times there is no room for negotiating a different salary. You have to be careful how you ask for more money, and you don't want them to think you are out for just the money. You want them to know that you will be a good employee and try and learn some new skills that will help you in the future. If you try and negotiate they have the upper hand in that they can always get an intern that will work just for the experience and new skills. You don't have a lot of leverage with salary in an internship so accept what is offered you or decline the job. My feelings are that it is always productive to acquire new skills and be able to move on with those new skills. You are the winner in an internship even it is not paid, It really is paid in skills.

My opinion is that you research this company through on-line information and find out if they have selected a lot of interns and if they are paid. At least you would know if you will be paid or not. Then you would be able to ask the questions that are appropriate.

  1. Startups are highly likely to negotiate because they have a very few rules and care about talent. Big companies are likely to they have budgets and many will be highly concerned that you might accept a role at a competitor, but some do have internal restrictions on intern salaries.

  2. Keep in mind what I said first: Companies offer real world experience, and that is what you are getting as a salary. Experience is priceless and should be valued while on your career path.

  3. Don't negotiate just for the sake of it, but if you feel like you deserve a higher salary (after you researched the company), then it might be worth negotiating. RESEARCH IS THE KEY WORD HERE "KNOW YOUR COMPANY BEFORE YOU NEGOTIATE WITH THEM, OTHERWISH YOU MIGHT LOSE A WONDERFUL CHANCE TO GAIN EXPERIENCE.

  4. Some say negotiation is best done over the phone. If you have an offer and would like to ask for a higher offer, tell the employer you have some follow up questions you wanted to go over. If helps a lot to have another offer to base you request on. REMEMBER: INTERNSHIPS ARE USED FOR GAINING SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NOT NECESSARILY FOR MONITARY VALUES!!

  5. Clothes in any kind of interviewing process should not be over done or under dressed. In other words you are usually safe as a women with wearing a nice pair of pants or a skirt, with a nice blouse or top and a simple jacket AND PLAIN BLACK OR BLUE SHOES. It is mostly a business look that you want to achieve. (THE NO'S ARE: NO FLIP FLOPS, OR SPOTTED OR WRINKLED CLOTHES,MAKE UP IS FINE JUST NOT REALLY BRIGHT OR GAUDY COLORS, NO GLITTER ON FACE, SIMPLY PERFECTION IS THE BEST.(NOTHING THAT STANDS OUT OR MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE A CLOWN.)

  6. Things to bring: copies of your resume, a page with references names address and phone numbers, and any certification that might apply to the internship that you are interviewing for.

I wish you luck in finding the right internship for you. Be pro-active in your search for the right fit!!This is important!! If you have any other questions about this please let me know.

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Michelle

I hope your internship experience was a good one. I think you received some excellent advice for your preparation for the interview. And you can use that same advice for future interviews. I just have some additional thoughts as you continue on your career path. Each time you interview you have the opportunity to share your story. And your story grows with each experience. Learn to tell it with confidence and the right company will see the value in the total package that you bring. Interviews are a great way to see if your value has grown and where you may want to gain more experience. Always be authentic. Don't feel that you need to change in order to fit a role. Find a role that fits your goals or experience or passion.

Kim recommends the following next steps:

Create "your story."
Think about how you want your story to evolve. Then set your goals accordingly.
Talk through how your story has evolved and what that means to your career plans.
No matter the stage of your story - always be authentic.