As a small business, how can we make sure we meet the right candidates out of all our internship applicants?

August 11, 2010 at 9:27 am Leave a comment

Too many qualified candidates is much better than a lack of interested interns! And in the current economy, this has become common, especially if your position pays.

Luckily, if you know what to look for in intern applications and resumes—and how to decipher certain signs—you can significantly increase your odds of meeting the best matches.

Use the following criteria to help signify an interview-worthy intern:

  • Applicable education. Meet students whose major and/or classes are specifically relevant to your organization. Because when an intern’s academic emphasis relates to your industry, he or she will bring a broader base of knowledge.

    More importantly, you’ll benefit from an intern with a sincere interest in your field. And output-wise, a student with a passion is always preferable to one simply seeking a paycheck or padded resume.

  • Original objective. When reviewing student submissions, look to meet candidates who have taken the time to write an original objective… as opposed to simply copying a standard opening.

    This says the student has put thought into what they want out of the experience and what they have to offer an organization. It also shows motivation. Expending the energy to write something original demonstrates drive and diligence that tends to translate into a stronger work ethic.

  • Other-focused objective. Sure, literally speaking, an objective is what a student seeks to gain from an internship program. But in truth, savvy students understand that employers are interested in what the candidate brings to the equation as well.

    An objective that includes a self- and other-focused statement shows you the student perceives the internship as a two-way street—where both parties benefit.

  • Customized Personal Message. On the application, the “Personal Message” option is akin to a cover letter. As such, it gives candidates—who choose to take advantage—another opportunity to show off their skills and connect with a company on a more personal level.

    When evaluating interns, this demonstrates that a student is motivated enough to go the extra mile. It also tells you the student is genuinely interested in your particular position—as opposed to haphazardly applying to every opportunity. Hire this intern, and you’re likely to get a grateful employee who’s happy to work hard.

  • Good grammar and absence of errors. Errors are telling in two ways: First of all, a student who submits an application with mistakes may not have the written skills to complete projects at the professional level.

    Secondly, obvious errors are a sign the intern didn’t take time to proofread. As an employer, you likely value meticulousness and attention to detail; therefore, weeding out applicants who don’t bother to read their own resume is an easy way to avoid slackers.

Entry filed under: Interviewing Interns.

Q. I’m confused by all the news articles focusing on the legal issues regarding internships. How can I find out what our company can do or not do in accordance with the law? Tips for Intern References

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About this blog

This blog is dedicated to employers with a focus on how to hire and manage interns effectively. We will have a variety of experts who will share helpful ideas, tips and more. We invite you to comment, ask questions and share your experiences. You are also welcome to submit written contributions to this blog.

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