10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Internship Company
If you’re wondering how to choose the ideal internship company for you, here are 10 important questions to consider before you apply to any company.
Updated 06 May 2019
So you’ve just been informed by your lecturer that you will need to start your internship next semester and that you have to begin sending your applications to companies soon.
If you’re at a loss with no idea how to select the best internship company, don’t fret; we’re here to help by revealing a few very important questionsthat you should ask yourself when looking for the right internship placement.
#1. Is it relevant to your degree?
An internship is actually the best way to figure out what you'd like to do for a living after you graduate. Think of it as a three-month taster of a job you've always wanted to try!
At the same time, you should make sure it's relevant to what you're studying. While you may be interested in cooking up a storm in the kitchen, an internship at a restaurant would not really be relevant if you’re a public relations student.
#2. What’s the company's reputation like?
This is essential to investigate. A company may look good on paper and tick all the right boxes, but if it garners shudders and warnings from people, we suggest crossing the company off your list and moving on to the next one.
Check the company's website, view the location on Google Maps, see employee reviews on Glassdoor and JobStreet and lurk on forums to know more about the public's perception. It’s always better to be too well-informed than not at all.
#3. Where is it located?
It’s time to talk logistics. Hours of your precious time will be consumed if you travel from your Petaling Jaya home to a company near Batu Caves, so be sure to take note of the company’s location before you apply for an internship there.
Found a company with a satisfactory location that’s just the right distance away from you? Get crackin’ and apply!
#4. Do you have the required skills?
So you’ve always loved the glossy spreads in fashion magazines and would die to intern at a fashion publication. There’s just a little snag; you’re a dentistry student who knows everything about gleaming teeth but absolute zilch when it comes to Adobe In Design and the ins and outs of fashion.
Sad as it may be, remember to work to your strengths. Your interests, while fascinating, may not necessarily be your skills.
#5. What's the working environment like?
Do you thrive in absolute silence, or need buzz and chatter around you while you work?
Your study style will play a huge part in your choice of work environment, so be sure to find out how the office environment is like at your prospective internship company. Some companies will have people walking about the office to each other’s desks to request information, while others may operate on a strict email basis with minimal verbal communication.
However, if your choices for internship companies are limited, you can’t be too picky and will need to quickly adapt to any environment, no matter what.
#6. How much will you get paid?
Your intern self deserves to be financially-compensated. If any company ‘regretfully’ informs you that the internship is not a paid position, say thanks and move on to the next option on your list. You’re still contributing your labour to a company and should rightfully be paid for your work.
However, should the non-paying company be your dream job and you’d do anything to join the team, it’s okay to accept the position — just this once.
#7. What will your responsibilities be?
Read the job description carefully and make sure it tallies with what the hiring manager says during the interview. If the post online says you’ll be working closely with a team to put together a magazine but the real-life interview hints that you’ll be a mere photocopy and coffee person, bring up the discrepancy and clarify things.
#8. What skills will you learn?
You’re obviously looking for an internship to enrich your knowledge and learn new skills, so ask the hiring manager in detail about your responsibilities and think about what skills you’ll derive from them. At the same time, list down what you can bring to the table so the offer will be a good match for both parties.
#9. What are the costs and expenses?
An unfortunate category that doesn’t get mentioned often; the costs of an internship. Sure, you may be earning about RM500 a month as an intern, but that amount is only enough to cover the cost of modest meals and travelling to and from the office.
Make notes about the office’s location, the restaurants nearby and travel options, as these will greatly affect how much you need to spend.
#10. Is there a possibility of full-time employment?
Looking for a job right after your internship? You’ll need to check with the company if getting an offer is in the bag after you’ve successfully completed your internship.
Some companies may immediately offer the position to you, while others may not be looking to hire more staff at the time. As usual, do your homework and research.
Internships are a great way to dip your toes in the professional working world, so no matter if the experience is good or bad, internships will add value to your personal, academic and professional growth. Good luck with your search for the best internship!