I recently had a similar discussion with two LAs, one a professor and one in practice. They both talked about the need for good writing skills The professor said writing comprises roughly 70% of our daily activities, from email to proposals. So, if no writing sample is included in the portfolio, you could ask for a short descriptive paragraph, or sample email to a client.
In my limited experience interviewing interns I find I prefer the personality questions. I want to know about how the person deals with challenges, and try to get a sense of their work ethic. I ask these students about their hardest class, and their favorite class. This starts the ball rolling, and from there we can usually get into something of a little substance.
1. (background: 1st job interview out of college…never having worked in an l.a. office) I was asked if I had ever “put together CD’s”. My mind froze and all I could think of were music CD’s. Of course, I said that I had “put together several”…not having a clue what he meant but “knowing” that “he” couldn’t mean music….but still not being able to think…total brain freeze….Yeah, didn’t get that job. (still makes me laugh at myself)
2. (precursor to the question: the interviewer told me that they was looking to hire because 2 women had quit – 1 to move with her husband to another city and 1 to have a baby) Then he asked if I “planned on getting pregnant”…. My reply was 1st to laugh (yep, I laughed in the interview) and then reply that “no, I had no plans to have kids”….all the while, my brain was thinking – “was he serious…did he just seriously ask me that question…does he know that is not legal…and does he seriously think that if I had planned (I wasn’t) to have a baby that I would tell him after he just told me 2 women left for that reason…silly guy…” (also still makes me laugh…but yep, I did get that job)