You probably wouldn’t find a single adult in the US who has never heard of The Walt Disney Company. The mass media and entertainment conglomerate is much more present in our lives than we realize (which is probably a bad thing), but it is a BIG name, and something to have on your resume, should you dream of a successful corporate career in media or entertainment business. Disney employs over 190,000 people globally, and their professional internship is one of the most popular internships out there, though it doesn’t pay as well as some other professional internships in the US.
Anyway, if you want to get in, you’ll typically have to pass two interviews–a screening session on the phone, and a longer session, typically either face to face or over a video call. They will ask you both personal & situational questions, and we will have a look at them in-detail right now. Remember that some questions are specific to the team & department you will join as an intern, and those we do not cover in-detail in this post (though our section of interview questions for different job titles can help you a lot here). Anyway, let’s move to the questions you will likely face, regardless of the exact position you hope to have as an intern with Disney.
Can you please walk us through your resume?
The first phone interview with a Disney recruiter, or with an HR Generalist, will start with a small talk, or some informal questions to help you calm down and relax a bit (everyone is nervous while interviewing for a job they want, and people at Disney are aware of that). Once the small talk is over, they will ask you to walk them through your resume.
Obviously as a young person (perhaps still studying), you may not have much to offer at this point, in terms of previous working experience. In such a case you should talk about your studies, any projects you worked on (at school, in your free time), especially if they have anything to do with the media industry, or with the type of work you hope to do at Disney. The key is to demonstrate that you are a decent match for the internship position (even if lacking experience), or at least that’s the impression they should get.
Why are you interested in Walt Disney?
Everyone loves to hear words of praise, and you can certainly praise Disney for some of their achievements, starting with Mickey Mouse and ending with taking the US mass-media industry by a storm, across all verticals. I am sure you have done your research, and know your reasons.
Another option is referring to your career goals. Perhaps you hope to work in the field for decades to come, or even want to work directly for Disney, or hope to self-produce some masterpiece (or something commercially successful, which is never a true masterpiece since masses cannot recognize or appreciate true quality in any field, and especially in arts), and for such goals professional internship with Disney is a perfect choice.
You can also say something about their creative working environment, ability to work with some of the best brains in the field, and perhaps also some specifications of their internship program. The person on the other end of the call should get an impression that you are very serious about your application, and won’t give up on it as soon as you get a positive response from some other employer.
What do you know about Disney professional internship program?
Here the key is to study the job description, since the various internship offers by Disney differ a lot. If is important to know whether the job is on the site or distant, and which location exactly, what the duration of the internship is, whether you need to take care of your own housing, and of course principal duties and responsibilities. I suggest you to print it before the interview, and read it a couple of times before the actual phone call, but it isn’t a great idea reading it directly from the paper in the interviews, since it sounds unnatural and a skilled recruiter will immediately notice.
To sum it up, their goal in the first interview is to understand you, both as a student and a person, your career aspirations and how the internship with Disney matches that, and also to see that you are a serious applicant and meet all basic requirements for applying. If they tick all these check boxes near to your name, you will proceed to the second round of interviews.
Second round Disney professional internship interview questions
Two major changes between the first and second interview with Disney are:
- In the second interview they will ask primarily behavioral (situational) questions, that means either “Tell me about a time you experienced XYZ”, or “If you experienced XYZ, what would you do, how would you react?”
- The questions will be more related to the actual internship position you apply for, whereas in the first round of interviews we can talk about “general questions”, and they are more or less the same, regardless of the exact position you try to get with Disney.
Since we cover most of the questions they use while interviewing future interns at Disney in separate articles, instead of repeating myself (or one of my colleagues) here, I will link to the questions, and suggest you to go over them one by one:
- Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond.
- Describe a biggest challenge you faced so far, either at school or in your professional career.
- What is the most difficult decision you have made so far?
- What would you do if you won a lottery?
- If you should pick just one favorite class at school, what would it be?
- Give an example of a time when you used logic to solve a problem at work.
- Describe a conflict you had with a colleague or fellow student.
- Tell us about a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Describe a situation in which you felt you did not get something that you deserved.
- How does this specific internship position align with your career goals?
- Give an example of a time when you handled a major crisis.
- Do you have any questions about the program or anything else?
Getting an internship with Disney isn’t a piece of cake, especially if you do not belong to a group of super-talented students with highest GPA, or have some stellar resume full of achievements. And while Wald Disney advertises many offers for potential interns, the number of applicants is still much higher than the number of vacancies. It doesn’t mean that your situation is hopeless though.
Success favors the prepared mind. Do as much as you can to prepare for your interviews, without putting too much pressure on yourself. It is also pivotal to learn everything about the position you apply for, and understand how it matches your personality, strengths, and career goals. You may or not talk about these things directly in the interviews, but understanding them and being aware of the connection will help you with any of your interview answers. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!
May also interest you:
- Zoom interview tips.
- Guide on how to overcome interview nerves.
- 15 most common interview questions and answers.