One student told me he bought and packed shirts and ties for his internship in Los Angeles, only to find out everyone was wearing jeans and t-shirts every day. And, another student found that her company prohibited pants for women and expected everyone to dress professionally every day. The students were both fine with their work environments, but you don’t want to get caught off guard. As you can see, one company can be very conservative and formal while another, very casual and laid back.
Will you be working with a team, or will you be working alone in a cubicle all day? Some students enjoy the quiet, but others want a more sociable setting and more activity.
Is this a well structured internship with daily tasks, or will you have to ask and find work for yourself each day? Will you enter data into excel spreadsheets, or log video all day; or will you have multiple responsibilities? It takes a very proactive person to work in an unstructured environment and to stay busy.
Will you be supervised by one person, or supervised by three or four people? Some students find they accomplish more tasks if they just have to answer to one person; however, you may welcome the multiple perspectives and feedback on your work.
All of these are good questions to ask yourself and your supervisor. So, before you accept that internship, learn all you can about the culture of that organization.
Most interviews end with the question, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is the perfect opportunity to find out about your duties as an intern (if you don’t already know) and to ask about your potential environment.