9 Smart Question ideas to ask candidates while posting an internship

Last week, when we shared tips on how you could use the “Smart Question” feature to quickly screen out the irrelevant candidates, we could sense you thinking – “It would be great if these guys helped us with the kind of questions to ask the students too”. So, here it is.

9 question ideas to enable you to shortlist the best candidates. The examples given below are ‘real’ questions used by companies on twenty19 to screen applicants!

Know what to expect – capability, skill level

1.Ask them to share links/samples of prior work they have done which is relevant to your requirement. Their prior work will straight away tell you what you can expect from them.

Example: Post links to articles/blogs or your other original pieces of writing.


Example: Please give examples and links to the best projects you have created. They should be related to web frameworks and technologies such as PHP, Java, etc.

Check interest level + get a glimpse of thought process & capability

2. Ask them a question specific to the role or give them a relevant puzzle which will make them put some thought into before answering. If they are really interested in your internship, they will do some research/groundwork. Their answer will also give you a glimpse of their capability for the role.

Example: I have an array of strings. How would I find the nth longest string in the array?

Example: Suggest 5 online and offline innovative ways each to promote an online bookstore.

Example: Can you identify 5 hotels/resorts in India practicing some of the core values of ‘Responsible Tourism’?

Check if they are consciously applying for your company + role

3. Ask them a question specific to your company and the role. This is useful if you think it is important that they know about your company before they apply for your internship.

Example: Visit our website www.thesimplus.com and click on the testsmart logo. Click the tour button and learn about the product. Suggest possible customers.

4. Ask them why they are the most suitable candidate for your role. This will help you first check if they can sell themselves before you let them market your product. This will also mean that they will have to take the pains to understand your internship role and your company better to answer this question well.

Example: Why are you the most Awesome candidate for the job? In not more than 40 words

Example: What do you think makes you perfect for this internship with us?

Check knowledge level + Depth of knowledge in relevant concepts

5. Get them to talk about a debatable topic/concept relevant to your internship. This kind of a question is useful if you want to check the depth of knowledge a candidate has on a particular subject. This will also reflect their interest level with respect to the role.

Example: Software migration of an application from web/desktop to mobile is simple or complex, justify your answer.

Example: Web 2.0 is not scalable. Agree or Disagree?

6. Ask them questions on concepts specific to your internship role.

Example: What is the difference between brand image and brand identity (< 20 words)?

Example: Explain AJAX concept in your own words? Design and Functionality wise, what are your favourite websites?

Quality of the candidate

7. Ask them what they do apart from college/what initiatives they have taken.

Example: What are the most interesting things that you have done/initiatives that you have taken outside your college curriculum in the last one year?

8. Check who their mentors are or which discussion groups, blogs, people etc they follow and why? Their key influences will give you one of the best insights into the quality of the candidate.

Example: Do you participate in any Django/Python related discussion groups? If yes, which?

Example: Do you have a complete profile/portfolio on Behance, Deviant Art, or any other premium creative-professional network? If yes, where? Have any of the sites you have designed been nominated for, or won the following: Webby Awards, FWA-Site of the Day/Month/Year, AWWWards-Site of the Day/Month, etc.?

Fit into work culture/type of role

9. Ask them question to check their fit into a particular type of work culture or type of a role – ex: fit into a start-up environment or High pressure job, roles which involve travel, etc

Example: Why are you even bothered to apply for a non paying internship at this startup which is bootstrapping?

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