Today, more than 40 percent of all entry-level full-time hires in the U.S. are sourced through internship programs. Which means that, for those looking to work for the most desired and admired employers in the country, internships are no longer a luxury but a necessity.
To that end, next Tuesday, October 28, Vault will be releasing its Top 50 Internship Programs for 2015. The new rankings are based on the results of Vault's Internship Experience Survey that, earlier this year, was administered to 100 of the top internship programs in the U.S. The rankings will include a best overall internship ranking as well as internship rankings in seven industries.
In the meantime, since the biggest hurdle to clear when getting an internship is the internship interview, below you'll find 101 actual interview questions that the thousands of interns who took Vault's survey told us they received. Most of these questions are so-called behavioral questions, which are the most common ones interns receive during the interview process (in addition, prospective interns will likely be asked a few job-specific technical questions; we'll cover these in future posts).
In any event, although interviews can be stressful and cause much anxiety, that stress and anxiety can be significantly reduced (if not erased altogether) with the right kind of preparation. And that preparation begins with knowing what you're going to be asked, and then practicing how you're going to answer. And so, here you go:
1. What are your long-term goals?
2. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty years?
3. What makes you stand out?
4. What's the most important thing to you on your resume?
5. What are you most proud of on your resume?
6. If you had to describe yourself as a brand, which brand would you choose and why?
7. What sort of leadership experience do you have?
8. Talk about your leadership style in the past and how you lead now.
9. Define the word "leader."
10. What does it mean to be a great leader?
11. What does the term "management" mean to you?
12. What would you do if you were a leader of a group project and one member of the group wasn't doing their work?
13. What drives you to succeed?
14. What quality do you most like to see in a team member?
15. How do you feel about working in teams and is that something you have experience in?
16. Give me some examples of your teamwork skills.
17. If you had a problem with a coworker, how would you solve it?
18. Describe a time where you had to correct someone's actions by showing them how to do a task in a better way.
19. Walk me through how a client meeting should go.
20. If a client were on vacation for the past two weeks, what would you tell her were the most important news events that she missed?
21. Tell me about some things currently going on in the news [and/or in the financial markets if interviewing with a finance firm]?
22. Tell me about an interesting news story you've followed lately.
23. Tell me about a time when you dealt with people who were difficult to work with or when you had a difficult deadline.
24. Give me one example of when you've used your problem-solving skills?
25. How would you balance school with work [if the job takes place during the school year]?
26. Tell me about a time when everyone on the team was against your opinion as a leader and how you handled it.
27. Tell me about a time you failed, what you learned from it, and how you would act differently if you encountered something similar again.
28. Tell me about a time when you faced some adversity in your life and how you overcame it.
29. What are your three best qualities?
30. What are your three greatest weaknesses?
31. Tell me about a time when you had to say "I don't know" and what were the results of saying that?
32. Describe an instance in the workplace where you were aware of someone doing something wrong or unsafe. How did you respond to it?
33. Talk about a time when you went against policy to do what you felt was morally right.
34. Tell me about a time when you showed the ability to keep confidential information locked up.
35. Talk about a time you had to settle a dispute between two people.
36. Give us an example of a time you were faced with an ethical dilemma and how you handled it.
37. Explain a situation where you used technology to solve a problem.
38. What would you do if a PowerPoint presentation you or your team was giving included a mistake, but you didn't know until the last minute?
39. What do you anticipate learning during this internship?
40. How is an internship here going to benefit you?
41. Tell me about a time when you had to make a hard decision that didn't please everyone that it affected.
42. Tell me about a time you had to break a promise. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
43. How do you resolve conflict?
44. Which area in our firm are your most interested in and why?
45. Are you able to sort through and make sense of large data sets? If so, give me an example when you had to do that.
46. Would you be willing to work on projects somewhat but not closely related to your field of study?
47. What would you do if it were 6pm, everyone in the office has left for the day, you were helping to prepare a project for a client that was due the next morning, and you noticed a mistake but couldn't get ahold of anyone else above you who was also working on the project?
48. How would you grade yourself on your Excel proficiency?
49. Why do you want to work for our firm specifically?
50. Do you know what the Cloud is? Could you explain it to me?
51. If you found yourself sitting at a desk, bored, what would you do?
52. What gets you up in the mornings?
53. You have to build a clock for someone and can only ask six questions about the clock you need to build. What would those questions be?
54. What is/was your thesis on? Tell me about it.
55. Describe some projects you worked on in previous internships.
56. How was your previous summer internship? Was there anything interesting you picked up during your previous summer?
57. Tell me what you know about the industry we operate in.
58. Where do you think our industry is going? What are the general trends within it?
59. How do you approach a problem when you encounter one?
60. How many cigarettes are smoked each day in the world? [Note: This is a typical "guesstimate" question, which is usually asked in consulting interviews but could be asked in other types, too; it gauges thinking process, as opposed to knowledge of the exact answer.]
61. Why should we hire you?
62. What is something Excel is useful for?
63. As a first-year master's student, how do you think you'll perform compared to someone who is almost through their PhD?
64. What sorts of skills do you have?
65. Walk me through your resume.
66. Tell me about your classes and coursework relevant to this job.
67. Which subject in school do you like most?
68. Why is your GPA this number?
69. a) Design a catapult and talk me through it while you design it. b) Now, redesign it to shoot further and talk me through your thought process on your redesign.
70. You have a 100-pound stone and you need to measure its weight accurately but your scale can only measure up to 50 pounds. How can you weight it?
71. Why do you want to work in this industry?
72. What personal traits do you posses that would make you a good fit for our company?
73. What are some of our major competitors?
74. What is the biggest problem our firm is facing?
75. Tell me about a time when you had a difficult roommate.
76. Why did you choose the university you enrolled in?
77. What kinds of things are you involved in at school?
78. What is your philosophy on education?
79. What's your biggest concern about this job?
80. Tell me about yourself.
81. What do you do for fun?
82. Tell me about your hobbies.
83. When were you most creative?
84. Describe a time you took initiative.
85. Give an example of a time you showed marketing skills such as selling a service or a product.
86. Describe an example of when you showed excellent customer service.
87. Tell us about a time you had to think on your feet.
88. Please describe your perfect work environment.
89. What environment do you think you would thrive in best?
90. Describe a past experience where you met a whole new group of people and how you bonded with them.
91. Thinking of your three closest friends, what do they have in common with each other?
92. If I met one of your closest friends, what might they tell me about you?
93. Who is the main person in your life that has made a difference?
94. Other than a tragic life event such as a death, what would you say is the most difficult thing that has happened to you professionally?
95. If you could choose two celebrities to be your parents, who would you choose and why?
96. You have a major presentation in ten minutes. You found out that the data in your presentation is incorrect. What do you do?
97. Give me three things about yourself that make you a good fit for this job.
98. Do you know a lot about a little or a little about a lot?
99. Tell me a joke.
100. If you could choose just one, what would your superpower be?
101. Why are you sitting here right now?
Follow me @VaultFinance.
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In addition to working for Microsoft, Racquel Garcia is an advocate for diversity in recruitment and hiring, and a speaker at conferences and workshops for the National Society of Hispanic Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and Grace Hoppers, a group dedicated to the advancement of women in engineering.
The following interview with Ms.
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