Good interns can be hard to find. Based on my experience as an intern, I have six tips for companies who want to attract the perfect employee.
Tip 1: A relaxed interview is a good interview.
When I went to my interview, I was nervous. As a writer, I wasn’t the typical applicant. But the director of Unchartered Tutoring, Amber Nicole, was relaxed and open throughout the process.
Amber Nicole made me feel at ease. We sat across from each other, she gave me a warm smile, and the interview went pretty well. I was a lot more relaxed after I left, and I felt confident that if I was offered an internship with Unchartered Tutoring, I would accept.
Tip 2: Paid is better.
People searching for internships will value paid over unpaid. For me the fact that Unchartered Tutoring was a paid internship was an added bonus and an extra incentive to do my best work. Businesses will get more applicants to choose from when offering money and interns won’t have to divide their time between an internship and a part time job.
Tip 3: Be there to answer questions.
This should start in the interview. Asking if they have questions is a simple way to show that you’re willing to provide answers. Once working, interns should feel comfortable in asking questions, or else they might shy away and proceed in the dark. You want them to improve, so be patient. Answer to the best of your ability, and your intern will go from good to great.
Tip 4: Work with schedules.
As a business hiring interns, it’s important to understand that most applicants will be students. Be prepared to be flexible. I made sure Amber Nicole knew what my schedule was as soon as possible so we would be able to work around it. She is very understanding and flexible and we worked out ways for me to get more hours, even when there were no Unchartered classes available.
Amber Nicole wanted me to go over and rewrite lessons for her. This would add to my hours and incorporate my major. It seemed easy enough. I could fix the syntax, make sure the diction was consistent, fix typos and such. Really, I thought anyone could do it.
I didn’t realize how valuable and useful the skills I’d been learning in school were to others in the real world. Not everyone has the mind of a writer, and the mind of a writer is a useful thing when you want a pair of extra eyes to make sure a piece of writing is the best it can be.
Tip 5: Consider giving interns independent and remote work.
Work like this will give your interns an opportunity to shine and show their stuff. Give them room to breathe. Sometimes I’d have to find creative solutions to problems on my own, because no one was immediately beside me to offer advice, and I found out how capable I could be when doing this. Yes, my coworkers and Amber Nicole were there to help if I needed them, but you can’t always ask them to drop everything to see which course of action is best.
Tip 6: Consider the interns with skill sets that compliment your own rather than hiring someone who is a mini version of yourself.
You should ultimately trust your gut when hiring interns, but remember to be open. An application might come across your desk and while some of the qualifications might line up, other don’t. Take a chance and interview them anyway. Good interns want to learn new things.
They want to help.
They are very aware of what is lacking in their application.
They still applied.
Interview them, ask them why they applied, see what they have to offer. If something in your gut pulls at you and whispers ‘let’s keep an eye on this one,’ be sure to listen.
About the Author
Shanna Shotwell is a Creative Writing major earning her BFA at NH Institute of Art. She tends to create writing that centers around human drives and motivations. Shanna enjoys working with children of all ages. She strives to help them explore their own creativity and expand their idea of what reality could be. While working with children in an academic setting, Shanna finds that one of the most rewarding things is to see students reach their own conclusions and problem solve independently.