Top questions to ask in an internship interview

If you’ve ever been interested in gaining abundant professional experience with a company, an internship is a perfect way to get started. Before we discuss why internships in Kenya are crucial to jump-starting any career, here’s what an internship entails.

An internship is a short-term work experience offered by an employer (or organization) to a student (or trainee) to get some entry-level exposure to valuable experience and pertinent industry knowledge. Ideally, interns spend their time working on relevant projects, learning about the field, building professional connections, and developing both hard and soft skills.

Whether you are applying for paid or unpaid internships in Kenya, the interview process provides a unique opportunity for you and the company to learn more about each other. It is perfectly suited to help you understand what you are adept at and what career prospects you might be interested in. If you’re lucky, an internship can ultimately be your golden ticket to a fulfilling full-time job.

In this article, we will cover significant items you can ask your hiring manager to make a lasting impression during your internship interview.

Company Culture

Firstly, inquiring about the company culture builds on what it would be like working at the firm. Understanding the company values, goals, ethics and working environment will give you a clear picture of how your personality, values and goals fit into the culture for the best internship experience.

 Typical questions include:

  • What are the company’s core values?
  • How would you describe what it’s like working at this company?
  • Might you give me three words to describe the firm’s culture?
  • If you had to choose the company’s motto, what would it be and why?

Main Responsibilities

In order to get the full scope of the internship, you’ll be curious about what an intern’s workday looks like. Having a detailed account of your regular tasks and responsibilities will help you make informed decisions about the position and how it relates to your skills and interests. A few to consider:

  • Can you please elaborate on the day-to-day responsibilities of the job?
  • What are my main responsibilities with this internship?
  • Are there other duties that might be expected of me?

Success Parameters

Everyone wants to be successful at something, which is no different for internships in Kenya. This line of questioning displays your positive and proactive attitude to growing professionally and your focus on the right performance criteria for the company as well.

Are there weekly or bi-weekly feedback meetings with your supervisor? Are there specific criteria on which you will be evaluated? And how exactly is the feedback process structured? Some questions to consider are: 

  • What are ways in which I can guarantee success in this role?
  • To be successful in the position, are there specific goals I should consider?
  • Are there regular team meetings to ensure feedback for success in the position?

Main Challenges

Every job comes with obstacles and these questions show that you are realistic and prepared for problem-solving challenges. You will be able to have a well-rounded approach to executing your duties and managing common challenges in the position.

Here are ideas to ask on that topic:

  • If you had to name one major challenge in the role, what would it be?
  • What are the main difficulties past interns have faced within the position?
  • Are there any particular matters I should pay extra attention to in this role?

Mentorship / Career Growth Potential

This is a smart approach for any career-minded individual but when asking questions on career mobility, be careful not to sound too aggressive but rather communicate a willingness to learn, improve and grow. Moreover, it points to your long-term interest to devote more time to the company beyond what they require for your internship.

Try these:

  • Once I have established considerable capabilities within the role, what would you suggest as ways to obtain further knowledge?
  • Working within the expectations of the internship, are there any special projects I could offer to help with?
  • I believe that building a strong and diverse network is helpful in any capacity, does the company encourage team-building opportunities and mentorship programs?

Evaluation

As an intern, you obviously want to know how your work will be judged or assessed. This goes back to the company culture, does the company value timely feedback and improvement? Questions to think about:

  • In this role, is performance assessed on a regular basis?
  • What can one expect from performance evaluations?
  • What does success look like in this position?
  • Does the internship factor in multi-team member evaluations? Is it peer-reviewed or strictly done by the manager?

Career Advancement

This swings back to the mentorship/growth item above. Additionally, these questions will help you get a peek into further growth and learning opportunities that the position might link to. Other ways to ask questions:

  • When considering ways to continue working within the organization, is full-time employment viable?
  • Does the company offer resources for career advancement?
  • How can I proactively add value to the company (once the internship is completed)?

Next steps

These questions are indispensable for wrapping up an interview. The feedback offers you structure on what to expect after the interview and presents a great opportunity for your hiring manager to address any pending concerns. Such questions include;

  • Do you have additional questions or concerns regarding my background or qualifications?
  • What are the next steps after this interview?
  • If I’m considered for the role, what should I expect for the onboarding process?

Now that you’ve got a solid idea of how to frame your questions when seeking internships in Kenya, you should be one step closer to getting your foot in the door. Finally, remember to stay focused, interested in what you bring to the organization, and confident, but not overly so.

Go for it!!