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What are your career goals (where do you see yourself in 3 years)?
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(a) The intent of this question is to learn more about your competencies and your motivation to improve your weak ones. Prepare to discuss at least 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses. Remember that the lack of experience in a given field can be a weakness but that transferable skills or experience may make up for it. For instance, “While I have never worked in a marketing position for a large nonprofit, I have taken classes in nonprofit management and I have volunteered for political campaigns where I learned to develop targeted messages.”
(b) The interviewer’s intent of asking this question is to get to know you. Your goal, however, is for the interviewer to remember you. Be brief by keeping answers to 60 seconds or less. One way of doing this is to open up by introducing where you are from and by directly stating what you are currently doing (student or working professional). Proceed to discuss your academic of professional interests and list 1-3 past experiences supporting your interests. Conclude by stating the reason(s) for applying to the internship.
(c) Interviewers usually pose this question because they may be interested in knowing how serious you are in pursuing a given academic or professional field. In an internship context, this question should compel you to dig down and think about your career interests in the long term: Are you planning to go back to graduate school? Are you interested in gaining a few years of actual real-world experience? Would you like to work as a full-time staff member of an organization similar to the one you are applying for? There is no “right answer” but you do have to provide one that is insightful in that you have a plan to keep building your professional skills after your internship. Who knows, maybe your organization would like to know if you would be available for a permanent position after you complete your internship. And in that case, how you answer this becomes all the more important.
(d) The intent of this question is to understand how you would respond to situational or work-place situations. By asking questions about your past, the interviewer may try to predict how you would handle and resolve future workplace situations, from deadlines to interacting with coworkers.
Individual questions vary, but typically, you should prepare at least 3 scenarios to cover any of these questions: (1) a situation in which you faced a conflict or difficulty at work or in school; (2) a situation in which you may have had difficulty with a supervisor, co-worker, or peer; and (3) a leadership opportunity or a project you were most proud of. Where do you find examples? Look at your resume. Remember, you can use also use experiences from school or from other prior internships or work.
To answer such questions, use a variation of the “STAR” technique: answer the question by retelling the situation and stating the task at hand that was involved in the situation. Then describe how you acted(the action). End by revealing the results of your actions and how you resolved the situation. Using the STAR technique will keep your answers relevant and succinct.
(e) The purpose of this question is to see how you discuss past educational and professional experiences. Seize this opportunity to successfully market yourself. An interviewer may start by going over your resume but end by asking you to provide more details on a variety of topics, whether it’s a project you’ve collaborated on, the time gaps in between jobs, and class subjects you enjoyed or least enjoyed. This question is a big reason why you should know your resume inside and out.
Exercise 2. Watch a video extract. A woman, interviewing for a pharmaceutical sales position, answers the common interview question: Tell me about yourself. This is an example of a good way to answer this question. While watching, write a list of useful tips.
Exercise 3. You have been sent an invitation for the interview by the Committee of the Programme. Be ready to present information about you and your present employer (speak about 2 minutes). Answer the Committee members’ questions.
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