Human Resources Internship Tips

A human resources internship can be an important professional experience if you aspire to a career in that profession. The internship program provides the extensive practical experience required to deal with the real-world workplace. It also serves as excellent training ground for developing the necessary “people skills” which this career involves.

Finding a Human Resources Internship


Finding the right human resources internship for your intended career development will require some research and planning. Be highly selective about your choice of internship. The best internships include a range of useful training and experience in areas such as these:

  • Staff development programs
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Information systems and technology for human resources
  • Recruitment
  • Workforce planning
  • Counseling
  • Organizational development
  • Employee attraction
  • Staff retention.

All these areas represent important baseline experiences you should gain for a human resources career. They include the full gamut of HR work, as well as a comprehensive introduction to the real workplace environment.

The best way to find a solid human resources internship is through networking, academic sources and directly from employers. Major employers can be particularly valuable sources of information. Their internships are conducted on a “best practice” basis, which you can use as a benchmark for selecting your own internship. If you have a particular career track in mind, or a specific role or industry, you can speak to the recruitment and training managers.

The best HR internships are well structured and professionally managed. They provide guidance and training systematically through each element of the internship program.

The Internship Interview: Generalists

Depending on the type of internship, you may deal with a specialist or generalist during your interview. Generalist interviews are the “nuts and bolts” of HR practices, the core subjects you’ve studied as part of your qualifications.

These interviews are basic behavioral interviews which include core tasks and roles like these:

  • Information systems
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Recruitment practices
  • Communications skills
  • Problem solving
  • Working in a team
  • Motivation.

The Internship Interview: Specialists

Specialist HR internship interviews are more technical, usually for graduates. They require a strong knowledge base. Questions involve the roles of the human resources internship on a practical basis, related to the specific skills of the position:

  • Counseling
  • Staff development and training
  • Staff retention
  • Grievance resolution
  • Communication
  • Mediation
  • Problem solving
  • Organizational design

Research in detail the role of the specialist internship to get a sense of the practical requirements of the position. Ask the internship provider for as much information as possible, so you can thoroughly cover all aspects of the role.