Whether it is for an internship or a job, the interview presents the challenge of the unknown. Take that first step with confidence.

It is in human nature to be intimidated by the unknown and that is why we get nervous when we encounter something new. For a student who takes up his/her first internship interview, the situation can be quite a challenge.

Today, companies look for smart interns who can handle tough situations. Your enthusiasm, spirit and willingness to take up new challenges are some of the criteria companies look for in students. So apart from the regular ones, you can be asked some unconventional questions. Employers want to see how you respond to high-pressure situations. An interview is an attempt by the company to learn your ability to do the job and the interviewers are not looking for the most brilliant answer. However, the good thing is not all questions are unconventional.

So then you might ask, what is the best way to prepare for an internship interview? Well, I would say that there is no set pattern; numerous things need to be kept in mind. Here are a few tips that helped me prepare better:

Background Study: You should do a complete background study on three things prior to the interview — the industry/field, the organisation and the interviewer. Read extensively about the organisation, its history, business and also about the management. Be up-to-date on the happenings in that particular industry. Check out the LinkedIn profile of your interviewer and understand his/her professional background.

Practise basic questions: The question and answer session is the most nerve-wracking! However, there are some common questions that are asked of all interns and it is better that you start practising them beforehand. Questions pertaining to hobby, extra-curricular activities and ambition are commonly asked.

Understand your prospective role: Walking in for an interview without first-hand knowledge about your job role is not a good idea. Understanding your prospective role in the organisation is crucial for a successful internship stint. Always ask for a proper role description and a requirement sheet. Outline your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to highlight any relevant prior experience. Make it interactive: Interview is not a monologue. It is a dialogue between the company official and you, to understand each other. So do not hesitate to ask questions. In fact, organisations prefer candidates who are interested in knowing about the organisation. Candidates with good interpersonal skills are always in demand. However, keep in mind to stick to pertinent questions only and avoid anything controversial.

Learn from it: Interviews are a great way of learning new things and developing your knowledge. As you get to know about an organisation and the industry it operates in, try and gather as much knowledge as you can. Interviews give you an excellent chance to interact with industry leaders who would provide you with key insights. Carry yourself confidently: Select a formal outfit for your interview. Remember, the way you carry yourself matters the most. Wearing your confidence on your face as a positive body language will definitely help you.

It is all about courage: As much as it is about getting the answers right, interviews are also about courage and self-confidence. You may not know all answers and that is absolutely fine. Face everything confidently and answer intelligently. If you believe that you are fit for the job, then have faith in yourself. Always remember that an interview is a medium of interaction. It can be tricky but you can master the art. With prior preparation and self-confidence, you can get cracking on extremely difficult questions as well. So keep calm, take a deep breath and go ahead!

The writer is business development manager, Hellointern.com