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Interview Guidance

Between two to four weeks after you submit your application to an organization’s internship program, you may be called for a telephone interview. This is very good news; you’ve made it to the final round!  Here are a few suggestions that might help get you through the call and to an offer.

Communicate a positive attitude. 

Usually this is communicated through body language; sitting up straight, making eye contact, and smiling communicate to the person you’re speaking to that you are fully engaged in the conversation and you’re a bright and energetic person. When you’re interviewing by phone, try to relay as much of this as you can in your voice. It will help to sit up straight at a desk with a pad and paper (not in front of a keyboard – you don’t want them to hear you tapping away) and smile when you speak – a positive tone can be very convincing.

Be prepared.

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the organization and if possible with the internship program. Think about answers to the following questions:

  • Why do you want this internship?
  • What will you bring to this internship that others will not?
  • What past experience do you think will help you in this internship?

Also be prepared for the very common question, “Do you have any questions for me?" because this means that it is now your turn to ask questions! Make sure you have at least a couple of questions to ask beforehand. These questions can be very basic, from asking what a typical day in the office is like to inquiring further into the type of substantive projects you will be working on. Now is also the time to find out how the program is structured; are you assigned to a particular staff-person or is there a ‘pool’ of interns that get doled out work? Ask also if attending speaking events on Friday afternoons will pose a problem for them – that will get you to a conversation about working hours and also other speaking opportunities and events that they might make available to you.

Send a thank you note.

You can always send an email (and that may be best where mail is security screened), but increasingly a mailed letter is considered going the extra mile. Either way, do it immediately after you finish your interview. As soon as you hear that your phone interview has been scheduled, get a stamp and appropriate stationary and be ready to send that thank you note the minute you get off the call.