Skip to Content

Tips on Preparing for Your Internship Phone Interview

An interview is a critical aspect of any application process and preparation is KEY to a successful interview. Being prepared to talk about yourself and your interest in the program will convince the reviewing committee that you have what it takes to be an NIH summer intern.

As a HiSTEP semi-finalist, you will be interviewed by phone. This interview should take no more than 15 minutes. The date and time for the interview will be discussed between the interviewer and you via email.

Below are some tips to prepare for your interview:

Be on time
Make sure you are ready when the interviewers call you. You want to be at the place where you will do the phone interview at least 5 minutes before the start of the interview. This way you will be relaxed and not rushed before or during the call.

Find a quiet place
Since the interview is by phone, you want to make sure that there are no distractions around you. Find a quiet place, where no one can interrupt you and you can hear the conversation. You can ask your teacher or guidance counselor to help find a quiet place.

Use a land phone
The best will be to use a land phone (not your cell phone) to avoid the risk of no signal or echo. However, if this is not possible, you may use a cell phone. If so, make sure the cell phone is fully charged, and that you are in an area where the signal is strong and there is no echo.

Greet the interviewer
First impressions go a long way. Be polite and professional. Make sure you greet the interviewer; a simple "Hello, How are you?" will be fine. Also, please use correct title when addressing your interviewer: use Dr. Last Name if the interviewer possesses a doctoral degree or Mr./Mrs. if not.

Project enthusiasm and energy
You want to show the interviewers that you are excited about the internship and you are ready to be part of it. Always have a positive attitude.

Revise your application
Make sure you know what the internship involves and you have read about the program. Read your application again in case the interviewer asks a specific question about it.

Ask questions at the end of the interview
This is an opportunity for you to interview the interviewer. You can ask questions about the program that might have not been answered on the website. You can inquire about what else you can do to prepare for the program. This will show interest on your part.

Send a Thank You Note
Take a few minutes to thank your interviewers for taking the time to talk to you. You can briefly express again your interest in the program. An email is acceptable.

Be prepared
Preparation is KEY! Preparation is very important: review possible interview questions and practice your responses. You can ask a teacher, guidance counselor or a family member to ask you questions so that you can practice your answers. Below you will find a list of several questions that might be asked during your interview. Be sure to read them and practice.

1)  Tell me about yourself
2)  Why are you interested in the HiSTEP program?
3)  What do you expect to learn from this program?
4)  If your teachers were here, what they would say about you?
5)  Tell me about a time you did something you are really proud of. Why are you proud of that accomplishment?
6)  What are your favorite subjects?
7)  Why are leadership skills key to a successful STEM career? Give an example of a time where you stepped up as a leader.
8)  Tell me about a time you made a mistake. What did you learn from that experience?
9)  Is there something you want us to know that didn't come up in the application?
10) What are your goals once you graduate from high school?
11) Do you have any questions for us?

Be Confident!
You have been selected for an interview because your application is exceptional. Now, let your strengths shine through!