This is the third installment in a five part series of how to cultivate excellent interns.
What does it takes to find an intern who’s a good fit and is interested in your company?
You’ll post the identical job description in 10-20 places and realize a grammatical error needs to be fixed. Or part of the description needs to be altered. Make changes on all postings and know it won’t be the last time changes need to be made.
Much like life, many factors affect the applicant pool. Big factors like paying job vs. (unpaid or stipend) internship, graduate or current student, location of internship, and accessibility of posting greatly affect your applications outcomes. The best job ads, best interviewers, best company to work for doesn’t always mean that the best interns apply. Excellent internship programs take time and persistence.
There will be poor quality applications that provoke a “what were they thinking!?” response. There will be unprepared interviewees who stumble through. As the interviewer you smile politely (for your own sanity) and conduct a shorter interview. Do not let an unqualified interviewee throw off your game. Find clues from the application process that might improve the pre-interview candidate review in the future.
On the first day of an internship, often interns won’t have the right paperwork or will ask endless questions (that you’ve already answered). Dumfounded looks, insecurity, and lack of awareness pepper those first weeks. Remember, interns have a lot to learn. Being armed with a sense of humor is the best way to diffuse various scenarios before they become more complicated situations.
Mistakes and Growth
As the company’s needs change so will the intern program. Adapt job ads, modify the interview process, and evaluate placement of job ads. Office changes like modification to seating arrangements or creating more meeting spaces for the interns can quickly show new productivity results.
Find the practices that work best for the company; don’t be afraid to change the program as frequently as needed. The number of quality interns working for your company will increase as awareness of the program and company’s needs grow.
Interns bring passion, engaged interest, and fresh perspectives to any workplace. Finding an intern who is a good fit for your company is a worthwhile mission.
The fourth installment of “5 Questions to Cultivate Excellent Interns” will focus on paid vs. unpaid internships.