Inside Scoop on Internship Interviews

I am horrible at interviews, any interviews, as they absolutely terrify me.  I do so much better once I’m already on the job because it is a lot harder to get fired than it is to get hired. Therefore the process of doing interviews in attempt to get an internship so I can graduate from my program is highly stressful for me.

I applied for two positions at Harlequin, both editorial and marketing. I already did an interview for an editorial position with Harlequin, as most of you know, but I am still waiting to hear whether I will be interviewed for the other. I also applied to Random House for their publicity internship and interviewed earlier today.

When I did my interview at Harlequin for editorial they mostly asked me what I would do in a given situation.  I was asked what I would do when faced with someone yelling at me, what would I say in a rejection letter, what I would do if I completed my assignments but no one was around to give me anything else, etc.

To prepare for this kind of interview, learn everything you can about the position. Find out what your responsibilities would be then imagine what kind of worst-case scenario this may cause. Once you have created a couple examples for each duty you may have, figure out what you would do to resolve them.

My interview this morning at Random House was all about me. What am I like, how would others describe me, what book am I reading, why should they hire me, what made me interested in publicity, and so forth. The usual types of questions you may find you are asked during any generic interviewing process.

I recommend picking up 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions by Ron Fry. Normally I would just say look online for good website, but this book not only gives examples of questions you are likely to be asked, but what kind of answers the interviewer is actually looking for when they ask it.

Both of my interviews had two people, but with one person doing the most talking. At Harlequin I was told to sit at a round table with the head relations representative on my right and my to-be boss on the left. This positioning makes things awkward because you should always try to look at both people when you talk, no matter who asks the questions. This seating arrangement meant I felt like I was at a tennis match as I had to keep turning my head back and forth so I didn’t ignore either person

Learning from this, at Random House I chose a seat at the end of the table and left both interviewers to sit at one side of the table. They angled their chairs in a way that made things comfortable for discussion.  Once again, one of them took point in the asking of questions.

This is one interview type I’ve had the pleasure of avoiding. The interviewer will act  in a rather mean manner, is rude, and has a tendency towards temper. This makes it incredibly difficult for the interviewee as they have to deal with such a wretched interview AND they don’t know whether it was all an act or if this would be a horrible place to work.

To prepare for this, be ready for the possibility so that you do not freak out during your interview. Always stay calm and be polite no matter what… well, unless the person makes a pass at you or something. Then you just report him and hope he gets fired and you get hired.

Did you know that the hardest question to answer is usually “Tell me about yourself?” This is definitely one you’ll want to prepare for in advance as you do not want to just start rambling off random things. Think about what you want to say and how you can make it relate to the position you are applying for so what you tell them is something they will actually want to hear.

Some other questions you can expect are:

How would others describe you?

What is your greatest strength/weakness?

Why did you choose this internship to apply to?

Why should we hire you?

What do you plan to do after the internship?

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope that my experience with interviewing for internships helps some of you when you, too,  are doing interviews. These tips should help you whether you are trying to get an internship, a job, or any other instance that requires it.

Previous Posts: Making a DifferenceHouse of RandomYA Evolution RevelationHow to Publicize a Book


Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

2 thoughts on “Inside Scoop on Internship Interviews”

  1. Omg, it’s amazing to see someone else trying to make it in publishing. I’m studying my masters in Marketing right now and I’m hoping to someday work for Random House or Hachette in my country =) Their publicity team of course! I don’t even know how I came across your blog but I’m glad I did.


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