6 Things to look for in an intern

Finding interns these days is easy. Every recent graduate is looking for that all-important experience. They’re fresh, idealistic and want to work. The problem is that they’re not all perfect for your company or your team. In fact, some of them aren’t right for the industry in general. It’s easy to find an intern these days but it is extremely difficult to find the right one.

Just because an intern is the most junior person on your team, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to make sure they’re the right person for the job. You’re going to be spending your valuable time training this person and therefore they have to be worth it. You want to hire someone who has the potential to move up in the company. You want someone who you wouldn’t hesitate to hand employment contracts to.   

That’s why you need to be extra careful when hiring interns. Here are six things to look for in an intern if you’re only willing to hire the best.

Their application should be error free
No matter what industry you’re in, you want an intern who pays attention to detail. Whether they’re going to be doing data entry or making coffee, you want someone who is not going to make silly errors. You should always take a careful look at their application and look out for any simple mistakes. Carelessness is an indication that this person isn’t serious about the position or simply doesn’t care enough to double check what they’ve written.

Their CV should tell you what you need to know and nothing more
A four page CV is not okay for someone who has just graduated from university or college. They can’t possibly have that much experience. If their CV is that long, they’ve probably included all their old participation awards from high school and a list of all the societies they eagerly joined in first year. You want to hire someone who knows what’s important, what matters to you and what doesn’t. They should know that you don’t care about their babysitting experience when they’re applying for an internship at a radio station.

They should pitch up to the interview on time and eager
Getting lost is not an excuse. If they really wanted the job, they would have done a drive by a few days before and checked out the traffic situation on the way. They’d even leave home early and sit outside until the interview begins if they’re really keen on actually landing the job. Someone who pitches up late better have a good excuse.

They should be confident but not over-confident
You don’t want someone who looks like they’re going to cry during the interview. They’re not going to make it through their first day at work. You want someone with a firm handshake who is able to communicate properly. However, you don’t want someone who is too cocky. The last thing you want is an intern with a big ego. Egos are earned and they haven’t done their time yet. So take note of their attitude in the interview and don’t hire someone who seems to think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. Because they’re probably not.

They should ask questions about what the job entails
If you get to the end of the interview and ask if they have any questions, they should have a few queries lined up. Purposefully keep some things from them while you’re talking and see if they enquire about the information you didn’t hand to them. If they don’t, they obviously don’t care that much about the job or are willing to take any job they come across. In that case, you don’t want to hire them. You want someone who cares about the company and desperately wants to work for you.

Your team needs to like them
If you’re interested in an intern and are keen to hire them, leave them with your team for a bit. Your company culture matters and you don’t want someone who is not going to fit in. Don’t sit in on this part of the interview. Let their potential colleagues ask questions and get to know them. Your existing employees will easily be able to tell whether or not the candidate will work out in the environment. You don’t want someone who is going change the atmosphere that others thrive in.

You need to be careful when hiring any new employee, even an intern. You want someone you’re not going to have to let go after two weeks because they’re incompetent, apathetic or clash with your team.

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