T Nation

Interview Help!


So I have an interview for an Audit Internship and I was told by the talent source lady that the interview will be behavioal based questions. This has thrown me for a loop. I feel like I do not have any life experiences to answer these questions. I really want this internship and it would be AWESOME to get it. The interview will be over the phone. So has anyone had an interview like this? How did you prepare? How did you do?

I really appreciate anyone who will take the time to help me! Thanks in advance! Hopefully Beans will see this!!!


Tell me about a time when...


I've had a lot of interviews, never one over the phone however, be honest, and genuine, and remember to sell yourself. Prepare reasons in your mind for why you are the right person for the internship/position so when they ask you, you will not hesitate. Avoid "ummm" and "uhhh" Confidence goes a long way. Don't overthink things, you'll do fine


It would help to know if this is for a Federal position or Private industry.

When we do these types of Interviews we have narrowed the field to a small group. Now we need to decide who will best fit in a team environment, take instruction and has an overall good attitude and energy. We already know by this point of your qualifications so few questions will be of a technical nature.


Thanks for the responses! I am not worried about the interview, I have done a lot, I am worried about the type of questions being asked. The interview is for an Internal Audit internship at Nestle Purina.


The people we interview are Federal but this may apply.
Many of the answers you are looking for can be found in the Job announcement. Many times they will have broken down the duties of the job.

As an intern you will be placed with someone who needs "Basic to the Job type" help. So the job will mostly be following instruction and being able to juggle between either jobs or people. So expect questions that will hint at are you a "Are you a Self Starter" "Can you Multi-task" and "Organizational Skills"

And can you do this without becoming flustered.


I think the key is to stay calm. Imo, these types of questions are geared to throw you for a loop so the interviewer can gage how you respond under simulated pressure. Like was said, be honest and genuine. Don't try and force some lame answer out. If the interviewer asks, "Tell me a time you managed a group of people during a high stress time," and you haven't don't babble on about some non-sense.

Be direct and honest, "At this point in my career I have not had the opportunity to manage a group of people in a high stree environment; however, I have repeated meet deadlines at ______insert internship/whatever." Make sure you end with something positive about yourself don't just leave it at, "Well I don't have any experience in that." It is an internship after all, the point is for you to gain experience there.

Talk yourself up without over inflating or sounding arrogant. That's the best advice I can give. I interview for 2 different internal audit jobs with no accounting experince and they were completely different. One was with Legg Mason and it was pretty standard/formal process. The interviewers were very nice, but were not there to shoot the shit so to speak. The other was with Medifast and the guy was extremely laid back and very nice. In both cases I just didn't have the experience they were looking for. You shouldn't have that problem since it's an internship.

Make sure you have your resume, courses taken, grades, etc... handy. You don't want to be asked a simple question about your schooling for example and not be able to answer it. Especially since it's over the phone.


Wow! Great response! Thanks man! I feel as if I do not have a lot of experiences like the one you mentioned or I just cannot think of them.


You have to be confident in the experience you do have. Confidence can carry you through an interview. Remember you just need that proverbial foot in the door. Then you can prove yourself.

Don't be afraid to think outside the box either. If you've organized an event at your college that shows you can organize a meeting. If you were an RA that can show you are responsible. If you were the Capt. of your football team that show leadership. If you delivered pizza and were never late that shows you are dependable. It's all in how you sell yourself and a lot of people (I am certainly one of them) sell themselves short during iterviews because they're afraid to say something wrong.


In a behavioral interview, you want to try to be as specific as possible. Here is what the interview is looking for:

STAR Response
Situation or task: A specific situation or task you did / were involved in
Action: The specific action you took (or contributed to)
Result: What was the result of your action(s)

Many people struggle to provide the result and this is typically the most important part. They also give general answers which is the worst thing you can do...

***Your interviewer is going to ask you questions about your past. "Tell me about a time you provided good customer service"

BAD ANSWER: Customer service is very important to me. I always provide top notch customer service and treat every customer like they are my mom... blah, blah, blah.

BETTER ANSWER (obviously you would give more detail but): A few months ago, a customer's shipment did not arrive on time. I contacted several sellers in the area and arranged for the customer to go to the store and pick on up. I replaced the sellers inventory and contacted the customer back after they picked up the item. We were able to get it up and running and customer sent a letter to my boss.... blah, blah, blah.

You want to come up with general competencies that pertain to your position and then think of specific STAR's to answer these. Things like problem solving, analytically ability, conflict management, attention to detail, etc.

Hope this helps.


Then you already failed.

They know your background if your resume is accurate. And they know you don't have a lot of life experience. You're being hired as an intern. Keep that in mind.

All an intern amounts to from our perspective is an extended interview. We get a look at you and your ability for months rather than 30 mins. We could get a trained monkey to do the tasks you will be immediately assigned, however we don't because the intern might be good and turn into a firm leader in 10 years...

They are concerned mostly with "fit" at this point, this includes if they think your personality fits with firm culture, and if you'll be willing to eat the shit sandwiches you'll be fed. If it is a larger firm, you'll have more wiggle room here.

So, you NEED to be yourself. Do not "sell" yourself as something you think they want you to be, be who you are. I assume if you've gotten this far in accounting, you're aware of who you are and how you feel you fit in the profession. Go with that.

Good, so maybe you haven't failed.

Look you need to think beyond this internship. This internship is nothing but the first stepping stone to your CAREER in public accounting.

Think like this, live like this, speak like this, and be open about the fact you are interviewing them as well, because you want to know you can move upward in the place you decide to work.

Questions like "I know this is for an internship, but say I was a full time hire, what is my path to partner?"

"What are the expectations of someone in my position, and do the expectations of an intern differ than that of a full time staff hire?" (You want to emphasize that you don't want lowered expectations.)

What you want to tell them, in not so many words: I'll be your donkey you can ride into the ground, that will provide quality work and eat all the shit I have to, but expect me to be gunning for your job and painting my name on your door eventually.

They want hunger, fire, people that can see the macro and micro and communicate.

Don't use slang, but don't try and use vocab you don't master either. Err on the side of prudish, avoid politics or religion talk, and scrub the shit out of your facebook and twitter.


Thanks for the responses everybody! I really appreciate it! I have studied that STAR approach and will definitely use it. Also, this would be my second internship if I were to get it.

Beans, don't worry about the Facebook or Twitter thing because I do not have either. Haha