Editorial Internships: What Questions Should I Ask During an Interview?

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At some point during the interview process, your interviewer will turn the tables on you by asking, “Do you have any questions?” The pressure’s on! Will the interviewer judge you based on your questions? Is this one of those rare times when a stupid question may actually exist? How do you impress the interviewer without sounding clueless? Eugenia Kang, the Web Content Manager at Xanga.com who has conducted around 600 interviews in the past five years, offered wisdom on asking smart questions:

The Typical Questions

Kang revealed that candidates commonly ask questions such as, “What’s an average day look like?”, “What is the work culture?”, “Is the dress code casual, formal or corporate?” or “Do you offer college credit?” These are all valid questions, but they may not help you stand out. 

The Significance of Candidates’ Questions

Your questions create an impression of you by demonstrating your level of curiosity and interest in the internship position.  Ultimately, your questions assist with illustrating your personality but most likely won’t make or break you (especially if you’re an adequate writer). 

Outstanding Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

When candidates have no questions, Kang said she definitely takes notice of the lack of inquisitiveness. Kang provided examples of intelligent questions, “What do interns do after the internship? What do they do next?”, “What difficulties and challenges have past interns dealt with?” or “How will this internship help my career?” In regard to the question about potential difficulties, Kang advised that it’s important to know the negatives. After all, the internship is for you to gain experience and learn. Consequently, if you dislike the position, then you’re squandering your own time and energy. 

The Most Thought-Provoking or Memorable Questions

If you truly want to stand out, Kang revealed that personal questions impress her. She listed notable questions past candidates have asked such as, “How did you start working at Xanga?”, “What was your career path after college?” or “What does your role and job entail?” She also added that interesting questions relating to background or questions showing that a candidate has researched and done his or her homework demonstrate passion and determination. Moreover, Kang admitted that out of the hundreds of candidates she’s interviewed, only a handful of people have asked her personal questions.

The Most Important Deciding Factor in Choosing an Editorial Intern

“Writing samples,” Kang said. That’s not too surprising! Moreover, make sure your resume and cover letter are free from typos. These documents create a first impression of you. Also, you must like reading. Be prepared to name off a few blogs, publications, books, etc. that you enjoy reading. 

Recapitulation of Interview Tips

“Always have the mindset that the interview is an opportunity to impress and show who you are,” Kang advised. It’s important to ask your interviewer questions so you can understand the position and responsibilities. After all, the internship is a significant investment of your time. Also, try to determine if the internship is a good fit for you. If you have numerous internship offers, asking questions will help you decide what your best option is.

Bonus: Job Advice!

Kang thoughtfully included guidance about job hunting. She said that she found out about her current job after her friend mentioned the open position at a social gathering. “Don’t be shy,” Kang said. “Tell everyone when you’re searching for a job. You’re more likely to receive feedback, acquire references, and have someone give you a good word. It’s better to network in person than job hunt online in a faceless environment.”

Sophomore > Writing for Film and Television > Emerson College

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