However, as long as you are thoroughly prepared for what lies ahead, there is no reason why your nerves cannot be used to your advantage to help you to enhance your performance.
When attending an interview for an internship, it is just as important as when you are being interviewed for a full-time role so should be prepared for in a similar way. It is important to research the company and the nature of the internship that you will be undertaking. This will enable you to ensure that the answers you give to any interview questions are appropriate. Also, prepare a list of any questions that you might wish to ask at the interview – an employer likes to see you taking an active interest.
Make sure that you know exactly where you have to be and at what time. It will create a very bad impression if you turn up to the interview late because you got lost on the way. Ensure you know the name of the person you need to ask for.
It is often advisable to bring along a pen and paper to the interview in case there is anything you want to make a note of. Also, it can be useful to bring a copy of your CV or any application form that you have had to complete so that you can refresh your memory whilst you are waiting to go in.
The interview itself can take any number of formats ranging from a simple question and answer session in an informal setting to a presentation to a panel of interviewers. It can also include group activities and aptitude tests so you should be prepared for all eventualities. However, there are some particularly common questions that almost all interviewers will ask and these include:
- “Why do you want to work for this company?”
- “Why have you applied for this job in particular?”
- “How do you think you can add value to the role?”
- “Where do you see yourself in, say, ten years time?”
As long as you have prepared well, none of these questions should be particularly difficult for you.
Your body language throughout the interview is also important as this can give away a lot about your personality. Here are some positive body language techniques:
This is essential when trying to convey trust and confidence but should not be overdone as this can create an uncomfortable atmosphere and suggest over-familiarity
Firm, Friendly Handshake
Not too hard as this implies arrogance and not too limp because it suggest weakness
Keep Your Chin Up (literally and metaphorically!)
Smile with open lips and tilt your head slightly to show that you are attentive
This indicates openness and sincerity
Touching Fingertips Together
This conveys a sense of authority
And some negative body language traits:
- Crossing your arms
Feet tapping, looking down, slouching, head resting in hands
Locked ankles, fidgeting, playing with hair, biting nails
Brisk and erect walk, hands clasped behind head
Hands on hips, angry gestures including banging fists on tables and pointing
Rubbing eyes or nose
Closing the Interview
Generally, the last stage of the interview will be when the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them. Always try to ask something here as this will help to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the role. Ask about what training you will receive and if there is any possibility of permanent employment in the future. Also, do your best to find out when you can expect to hear if you have been successful.
What Happens Next?
After the interview, if you do not hear from the company within the specified time, it is perfectly acceptable to telephone them and politely enquire whether a decision has been reached. If it has and you were successful, then very well done but if not, then it is important not to allow yourself to become too disheartened but rather to learn from the experience and use it to help improve your performance at the next interview you attend. Remember, internships are often extremely sought after and it may simply be that there was somebody else who was just that little bit more experienced or qualified than yourself so you should not necessarily assume that it is a reflection on your interview skills.