Men in their forties, tired of life, who are unable to handle e-mail, scratch their heads on hearing the word “Instagram” and speak loudly and clearly to webcams. Are they typical interns today? Relax, they’re just the heroes of the movie “The Internship”. If you want to learn how to avoid such candidates and how to find the ideal intern in a short time, explore the 8 tips that will allow you to do it wisely and effectively.
Finding a good employee who meets the needs of the company is sometimes problematic. An increasing number of companies decide to employ interns, who often have no work experience, but show a willingness to learn and commitment. This may seem risky – entrepreneurs worry about the fact that their new employee knows little about the industry and perhaps doesn’t fit the company profile. However, if you choose the right candidate, internship can be a fantastic tool supporting your business and development. In a moment, you’ll know how to make a wise decision.
How to find the ideal intern?
It turns out that many valuable qualities and skills can already be seen in the candidate during your initial conversation with them. So if you’re preparing a recruitment drive, you need to know what to pay attention to. Explore the 8 criteria that will tell you how to find the ideal intern.
Does it happen to you that you have to correct documentation after your employees? Do you often find errors in reports? This means that your employees tend to be imprecise. Young people often don’t pay attention to details, not realising that this harms the company. At the expense of thoroughness, they attach importance to speed and commitment. Meanwhile, accuracy is an invaluable virtue of the intern, and can quite easily be assessed during the first conversation with them. How do you do this? Just look at their CV or cover letter. If they are legible and free of typos and serious language errors, if the information is given clearly and tidily, if the graphics are well thought out and you can see the attention to detail – that’s a good sign!
- Theoretical preparation
It’s no great discovery that a newly employed intern should have minimal knowledge of the business conducted by the company. This is not the most important condition, but many entrepreneurs put it at the forefront of their requirements. Certainly it’s worth choosing an employee whose education corresponds to the profile of the company. Having even a little knowledge bodes well for further cooperation. But don’t allow this criterion to become the most important to you. On the market, you’ll meet many candidates without education in your area who are eager to work, willing to learn, and whose commitment outshines the best student of the year.
- The pace of learning
Every employer wants to employ people for whom learning comes easily and relatively quickly and who become independent. How can you find out whether your candidate meets expectations in this regard? Ask them what they’ve learned so far and where. Based on the answers you will be able to deduce whether they have the desire to learn and a good pace of learning. In the initial period of the internship the intern should be given tasks that are to be repeated. A fast learner won’t ask you the same questions several times – once something is explained to them, the next time they can easily cope alone. The internship is aimed at gaining new knowledge and skills that match the needs of the company, getting to know the specifics of the industry and practical apprenticeships. It’s an intense time that a young employee should use to learn to the maximum. Enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge, skills, and new experiences is essential. The experienced eye of a good HR person will notice this enthusiasm during the initial interview.
- Openness to feedback
A co-worker who gets offended by constructive criticism, has a big ego, and is convinced of their infallibility is a weak co-worker. Feedback is the basic source of knowledge in business. We get it from customers, colleagues and superiors. It also provides valuable tips for the intern. That’s why they should be characterised by a good degree of openness to the feedback they receive – even if it’s negative. Often, situations happen in which it is necessary to assess their project, their progress, and their professional development. Then, characteristics such as resistance to stress and strong character will be important. Criticism is an integral part of any job, and therefore the ideal intern will receive critical remarks as a guide and, rather than feel guilt, will draw conclusions and improve their way of working.
Remember, not to judge the intern’s current willingness to be an expert at a given position so much, but rather the development potential, and willingness to learn and acquire new skills that will help them in the near future to become a valuable member of the team. That’s why you should not only take into account skills and education – the features that the candidate will demonstrate during the initial conversation are often much more important in the context of the possible employment
Quick completion of reports and loafing about until 4:00pm? Unfortunately, performing your duties correctly is not enough to be the perfect employee. A common mistake, especially among young people, is a lack of commitment and initiative. For the employer, this gives information that the trainee does not like their job, is not interested in it, and most likely has a tendency to waste time, which means that they will require special scrutiny by the supervisor. Initiative can be seen as early as during the interview – here, every new observation and solution related to your business is valuable. Also important is self-confidence, which will help the intern to share their ideas. During the internship, initiative manifests itself in such activities as the active acquisition of knowledge, asking for new orders, observing the work of others, willing participation in training sessions raising professional qualifications, helping colleagues and taking on new responsibilities.
“I’m listening. What can you offer me?” This is just one of the many questions that can be heard from candidates devoid of humility. Generation Y is proudly entering the labour market – demanding and confident, convinced that a good school, language skills and foreign scholarships are sufficient reason for employers to compete in their job offers. A lack of humility often negates the chances of young people for full-time work. Primarily because no one likes people who are pompous, over-confident and overly smart.
Whether you are able to communicate with colleagues and jointly achieve a goal largely determines your value to the business. This is particularly important in the case of interns, because they will very rarely get to receive completely independent projects. How to assess your candidate’s teamwork skills? Ask about when they last collaborated with others and what it was like. The ideal candidate listens attentively to orders, can help, and takes responsibility for their actions as well as those of the whole team. The key here is also suitable communication – the ease with which thoughts and ideas are expressed, flexibility, openness to different opinions, but also assertiveness and a certain degree of self-confidence.
- Active listening skills
Does the candidate for an internship listen and understand what you say to them? Do they ask questions, or mechanically nod at your every word? If you feel that your interlocutor isn’t focused, doesn’t quite understand what’s being talked about, or on the contrary – it very quickly seems to them that they know everything, are impatient and interrupt you – this means that they lack active listening skills. This intern will have problems understanding the tasks they receive, or will conclude too hastily that they know what‘s involved, and then spend long hours trying unsuccessfully to do them. Active listening and asking questions is an important skill that holds promise. Therefore, choose people for the internship who can concentrate on what you’re telling them and not act rashly, convinced of their infallibility.
Now you know how to find the ideal intern. Remember, not to judge their current willingness to be an expert at a given position so much, but rather the development potential, and willingness to learn and acquire new skills that will help them in the near future to become a valuable member of the team. That’s why you should not only take into account skills and education – the features that the candidate will demonstrate during the initial conversation are often much more important in the context of the possible employment. Observe, ask, don’t give up on them because of deficiencies in their theoretical preparation for the job. Remember that a properly selected person will be a great investment for your business. By introducing young people with no experience to your firm’s operations, you are hiring qualified personnel with the competences corresponding to your expectations.