Five Ways to Hire Interns Who Hit the Ground Running

June 2016 Blog 1

‘Tis the season to hire interns. Are you prioritizing the qualities that will get you the most agile workers? It’s more important than it seems, and here’s why:

Over 50% of interns go on to become full time employees.

Once you look at things from that perspective, it’s clear you need to grab the best interns out there, because what we’re really talking about is a pool of talent that may well be the future of your company.

So, now that we know to assess interns as potential full time hires, how do you track down the candidates who will be assets and not energy drains? There are some specific places to focus your energy.

Pay more attention to skill sets than experience.

That’s going to sound counterintuitive, but the fact is you can never be sure how closely an intern was supervised at a past job, or what was expected of them. So while their work history may be glowing, there are other qualities to watch for. Do they demonstrate attention to detail, or does their application have typos? Did they follow all the steps of the application process with diligence? Is their cover letter clear and concise? Enthusiastic? These qualities may well outshine a less exciting work history when it comes to performance on the job.

Judge experience based on outcomes.

When you look at work experience, investigate the qualities each experience engendered or allowed the candidate to showcase. Look for evidence of leadership, of commitment, of creative problem solving. With luck, you’ll find some resumes that focus on outcomes, where the candidate lists what they achieved. This will give you a clear sense not only of how much the potential intern got out of the experience, but how they view themselves in relation to the job.

Self starters are optimal—as long as they’re coachable!

If you’ve winnowed down your applicant pool, consider doing a round of phone interviews. Pay attention to the ebb and flow of conversation. Candidates will want to impress you, but they also need to listen. Do they strike you as coachable? That willingness to listen and learn means that you won’t have to repeat directions as often.

Look for a good fit for the culture of your organization.

This is another good angle from which to consider work experience. It’s also where the social media vetting you keep hearing about comes in. If a candidate shows a lack of discretion in what they post publicly, they may lack discretion at work, as well.

Asking these kinds of questions can ensure that you’re hiring someone who will do quality work without constant supervision, and comport him or herself in a way that will reflect well on your organization. You’ll also set yourself up with a nice crop of potential hires. What could be better than that?

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