Common Interview Questions and How to Conquer Them

AshleyMilillo.InterviewQuestionsNow that we’ve surpassed spring break, midterm exam stress is a thing of the past. But, for some of us, the pressure to score an awesome internship before summer begins is only starting to weigh heavy. While an impressive resume is crucial if you want potential employers to notice you, acing your interview is the key to scoring your dream internship.

Interviews are absolutely nerve-wracking― there’s just no way around it, but coming prepared will help ease the butterflies. Luckily, we’ve consulted Penn State Career Services and compiled a few of the most common questions you’ll surely encounter during an interview.

Can you tell me about yourself?

This question seems about as simple as they come, yet is actually the most difficult to answer effectively.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

–   Ramble for five minutes straight
–   Recap your life story
–   Talk about your personal life

Now that you’ve successfully avoided making your interviewer wish he had called in sick that day, here’s what you can do to impress him:

–   Keep it simple
–   Explain why you are qualified for the position (basically, recap your resume quickly)
–   Explain why your interests make you a great candidate
–   Briefly mention any leadership positions you’ve had and what skills they’ve given you

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This question is a great opportunity to brag a little bit because, hey, he asked! Make sure that when you’re tooting your own horn, though, that you keep it relevant to the skills relevant to the position. There’s no need to tell him how many pokey sticks you can consume in 10 minutes.

As far as weaknesses go, make sure you don’t list any that disqualify you from the internship you’re applying for. The key to nailing this part of the question is disguising a strength as a weakness. If you’re feeling exceptionally confident, let your interviewer know that any weaknesses you may have are purely personal and in no way impact your professional life. In other words, there’s nothing that stands the way of you doing a great job.

What interests you about this internship?

Make sure that before the interview you study the company’s mission statement, history, products, the job description of the position you’re applying for and any other information that might be important. This question is your chance to impress your interviewer with how informed and eager you are. Remind him of your interests and qualifications and how they relate to the job at hand.

Photo by Ashley Milillo

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