Less than 20% of placements left! Want to work & travel in Canada? 🇨🇦 Sign up today! (for U.S. passport holders only)
Want to work & travel in Canada? 🇨🇦 Sign up today!
Share your adventures from a cultural immersion summer through American Adventure Quest now.

Practice your responses

Know the questions you’ll be expected to answer. Be especially prepared to discuss the experiences and skills you listed in your resume and the specifics in your cover letter.

  • Be concise. Make sure you answer what is being asked and avoid rambling. Too much information will confuse your interviewer and may make other answers to future questions redundant. Here you can rely on the STAR method, a widely-used means of forming succinct responses to interview questions. STAR is an acronym that stands for “situation,” “task,” “action,” and “result.” 
  • Do extra research on questions you find to be especially difficult. Most importantly, answer by providing examples of things you have accomplished. Arriving prepared with stories that relate to the skills your employer is looking for can give you an advantage. Respond by saying “Yes, this is similar to when I…”
  • These stories/examples should emphasize your strengths, flexibility, leadership skills, motivation to learn new things, any contributions you’ve made to organizations in the past, creativity, problem solving, etc.

You want to make sure to demonstrate both your interest in and your fit for the position.

Sample Questions to Answer:

Tell me about yourself

The employer is looking for a brief summary about you and is more interested in hearing about your educational and professional background than your hobbies and favorite foods. See if you can sum up your educational and professional background in about 60 seconds and ensure that you make connections between your background and the position for which you are interviewing.

Focus on a few of the key responsibilities that are especially interesting to you or highlight aspects of the company that you find appealing or beneficial to your professional development. Be sure to include what you hope to learn from the position, but also explain what you would like to contribute to the organization as well. Absolutely avoid mentioning you want the position solely because of its location or because it is a requirement for your degree.

You may not have a lot of experience in the field yet, but make sure you have researched and are ready to discuss current trends – particularly what’s happening in the U.S. and in your home country. It’s also extremely important to refer to specifics from internships or work experience you’ve had in the past or topics you’ve recently studied in school.

A potential employer wants to know that you have researched their company. You don’t need to know everything about the company, but you should be able to discuss the basics. Find out what the company’s mission statement is, who the biggest clients are, etc. Research recent news articles about them. The company’s website, blog, and social media is also a great place to start.

This is one of the most challenging questions to answer. You obviously don’t want to say something negative about yourself to a potential employer, so the trick here is to turn a negative into a positive.

STAR method opportunity alert! You might say, for example:

  • Situation: “Staying organized used to be a challenge.”
  • Task: “In 2019, my former supervisor asked me to take on an additional project, Project B, in addition to my current workload, Project A. I realized that I needed to develop my organizational skills in order to succeed.”
  • Action: “I developed a time management system that works for me and that has really helped keep me organized: I started breaking down tasks into hour-by-hour chunks.”
  • Result: “As a result, both projects were successful. Projects A and B represented, respectively, 15% and 10 % growth compared to the same projects previous year.

Many people are inclined to recite a list of traits such as “dependable” or “creative”, but it’s especially effective to discuss experience or skills that are directly related to the internship/training program to which you’re applying. For example, if you’re applying to intern/train in Sales but have no previous sales experience; highlighting your presentation skills might really impress an employer. Or you may want to provide an example of how you were able to persuade someone to do something since that is the foundation of the sales industry. Again, provide actual examples rather than a list of attributes.

Make sure you’ve thoroughly read the requirements for the position and confirm that you meet them. Refer to specific responsibilities of the position and tie them to your educational and/or professional experience. If you aren’t applying to a specific internship/training opening and are proposing the program to the employer, be sure to explain that you have a strong foundation for training in this industry. They will understand that they will need to teach and train you, but they will also want to know you have sufficient preparation to be successful.

Discuss your qualifications, including your educational background (include specific coursework or projects), internships and professional work experience. You may also want to include some personal characteristics (e.g. motivated, hardworking, get along with many different types of people, etc.), but do not simply list positive attributes. The interviewer is more interested in how you demonstrate these skills or attributes.

For example, instead of saying you are motivated, provide an example of how you proactively identified a need at a previous company and subsequently led a project to meet that need. This will prove that you are motivated without you just saying, “I’m highly motivated.” If an employer ever asks you to “tell me about a time…” this is the type of response they are seeking. They don’t want to hear that you are good at time management—they want you to provide actual examples of your time management skills.

Give specific examples of your accomplishments and why you are the best person for the position. Talk about the responsibilities of the position and the skills you possess to fulfill them. Be sure to restate your interest in the position!
An employer wants to know that the position relates to what you hope to do in the future because it’s a sign that you will be motivated to learn and work hard in the position. Talk about your goals and explain how the position would help you achieve those goals.