Internship Exit Interviews: A Guide to Answering Common Questions

Published: Apr 09, 2024

 Internships       Interviewing       
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At the conclusion of an internship, you might be asked to conduct an exit interview. Companies use exit interviews to learn about an intern’s experience with their program, which aspects of the program are effective, and which ones need work. In addition to this, an internship exit interview may help an employer decide whether they want to extend full-time offers to any of their interns. Today we’re going to talk about some common internship exit interview questions, and how you should answer them. Let’s begin.

“How would you describe the company culture and environment?”

This question is a great way for a company to get a first-hand account of its company culture and day-to-day operations. As such, you should be completely honest when answering this question while remaining on the positive side. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for a direct pathway to full-time employment, you’ll want to tread carefully. Here is an example answer to work off of:

“The company culture was inclusive and supportive, and I noticed there’s an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. The work environment was fast-paced yet welcoming, and I felt encouraged to voice my ideas and contribute to discussions.”

“Can you provide feedback on the internship program and its structure?”

By asking this question at the conclusion of an internship, a company can gain valuable feedback about the program itself. This feedback can then be used to identify the program’s strengths, any weaknesses it might have, what the company can do to increase engagement among interns, and what adjustments the company can make to the program in the future. Here, you want to stay on the positive side, while providing any constructive criticisms you might have. Check out this sample answer:

“Overall, I found the internship program to be well-structured and organized. The orientation process provided a clear overview of the company’s goals and expectations, and my tasks were easy to understand. If I could improve one thing, I would offer more opportunities for formal training sessions or workshops to help interns develop their skills.”

“What skills or knowledge did you gain during your internship?”

The company you interned for wants to know that you’ve gained skills and knowledge through its program, which is why this question or another variation of it is likely to be asked during an exit interview. This question also gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown professionally throughout your internship. Here is an example answer to help get you started:

“Throughout the experience, I developed strong [mention skills you’ve learned] by working on [mention tasks you worked on]. I also honed my communication skills through regular interactions with my team members, manager, and clients.”

“Do you feel you received enough support from management during your internship?”

Similar to our first question, this one lets a company get an inside look at its management team, straight from the source. The company may also be looking to see whether management treats interns fairly in comparison to full-time employees. Again, you should be honest, but positive. If you have any suggestions that you think would help improve management, make sure you include them. Check out this example answer:

“I feel that management provided me with sufficient support throughout my internship. I received emails from management on a regular basis checking in with me and asking if I needed any help with my tasks. If I could improve one thing about the management style at [Company Name], I would say that there should be weekly in-person meetings to catch up in addition to the emails.”

“What are your career goals moving forward, and how has this internship influenced them?”

The purpose of this question is to measure your professional growth throughout the internship, while identifying any success stories that can be used when advertising a company’s internship program in the future. If a company provides a direct pathway to full-time employment after its internship program, this question may also help them determine which candidates are the best fit. Here is an example answer to help you get started:

“Looking forward, I aspire to pursue a career in [Specific Field]. My internship experience has reaffirmed my passion for this field and has provided me with valuable insights into the industry and my role. I’m excited to continue building upon the foundation of skills and knowledge I gained during my internship at [Company Name].”

“Do you see yourself working at [Company Name] in the future?”

This question takes a direct approach at gauging your interest in working for the company full-time. If you’re being asked this question, there’s a good chance that you’re being considered for employment, or at the very least, that the company is interested in hiring interns. It’s important that you’re honest when answering this question since you wouldn’t want to waste your own time or the company’s time if you aren’t interested in working there. This example answer should help get you started:

“I can see myself working at [Company Name] full-time. Throughout my internship, I felt that I was a good fit for the company culture, and I got along with the rest of the team. I’m proud of what I learned at [Company Name], and I would love the opportunity to continue improving my skills and contributing to the organization.”

Keep in mind that your answers may look very different from the examples provided above. Depending on the company culture and your level of rapport with the company in question, your exit interview may feel less formal. In certain cases, you may not conduct an exit interview at all. In order to prepare yourself for an internship exit interview, try practicing with a trusted friend or family member using the questions detailed above.