Skills vs. Report Card: What to Look for When Hiring an Intern

Hiring interns is an important process for start-ups. It is also the most complicated one. As a recruiter, you do not have access to someone’s previous experience to grasp an idea of their quantifiable performance. You cannot conduct a background verification check on their work hygiene.

All you get is a resume and a 40-minute interview before you make a judgment call on whether the person right in front of you is fit for an internship.

Here is an important question; some people have a strong report card whereas others have the enthusiasm and willingness to learn, so how do you choose between the two?

Skills vs. Report Card: What to Look for When Hiring an Intern

If you are overwhelmed with the question of what to look for when hiring an intern, here is the answer:

  • Interpersonal Skills:

This is a requisite for any job. If you are hiring interns with the prospects of employing them full-time, they need to possess interpersonal skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and so on.

You do not want cheap labor; you want someone who can take initiative and ownership, and someone who can give ideas and valuable inputs. An intern can prove to be good in these areas only if they have a knack of communicating with confidence. Therefore, make sure that the candidates have decent interpersonal skills while hiring them.

  • Good Academics:

An internship is a learning opportunity not only for the interns but for you as an entrepreneur. You will see people developing skills that they didn’t exhibit at the time of the interview and also, you will see people not meeting the expectations that were set the first time you met them.

This is why good academics play an important role when it comes to evaluating someone’s potential and capacity for hard work.

Someone with consistent good grades is more likely to be a consistent worker.  

They are most likely to understand the value of hard work and persistence. These people are likely to perform consistently and complete the given tasks within the prescribed guidelines.

  • Work Hygiene:

Generally, employers do a background verification check to determine the work-hygiene of an employee. Did they take too many personal days, were they always late to their shift, were they difficult to work with?

But how do you determine someone’s work hygiene when they do not have any prior experience? By scanning their resume carefully!

See if they were able to complete their academic projects in time. See if they do not have any back-logs, assess if they were able to complete their degrees and professional course within the standardized time and most importantly, find out if they fell short of their attendance or any other requisites. Once you have these answers figured out, you’ll be able to find the right intern for your organization.

All these are the indicators of good work hygiene. Such interns are likely to respect call-time and deadlines. These are the indicators that you should use as a yardstick while hiring interns.

  • Team Collaboration:

If you are hiring interns with the intent to promote them to full-time employees, they need to have this resume skill. Team collaboration helps in improving the overall productivity of a work-place. It also contributes towards effective team building and fostering a positive environment at the workplace.

It is advisable to hire interns who are comfortable working with people. To ensure the same, you can scan their resume to see if they have done any group projects. You can ask questions surrounding the group activities/projects during the interview. In this way, you can determine if they are a team-player or not.

  • Emotional Intelligence

Interns are young people with less emotional intelligence when compared to adults who are in the first- quarter of their life. Thus, if you can find young people with high emotional intelligence, do not undermine them.

As Daniel Goleman puts it “many people with IQs of 160 work for people with IQs of 100 if the former have poor intrapersonal intelligence and the latter have a high one”

 EQ can be more crucial than IQ. Emotionally intelligent interns are less-likely to create an unnecessary fuss and are adaptable to change and challenges in the workplace.

  • Adaptability:

As an entrepreneur who has their business set up recently, you are used to wearing many hats. Someday you are fulfilling sales’ roles, another day you are the admin of the office. You should expect no less from an intern. They should be adaptable enough to take on multiple-roles and should not shy away from fulfilling them with zeal and efficiency.

  • Technical Proficiency:

At last but not least, an intern should have hard skills to fulfill the technical requirements of a job. This is the reason they are being hired. Have a look at the technical skills in their resume to see if they have familiarity with the tools and techniques they will be asked to use during their tenure. Hiring interns can be fruitful if you have a clear mindset as to your requirements and motive. If you are someone, who is too busy to supervise, avoid this exercise and go with the experienced professionals.

On a quest to help professionals across the world land their dream jobs, Aditya lives and breathes Hiration — an online resume building platform to help job-seekers find their way in the treacherous job market — where he’s a Co-Founder and the unofficial CPO (Chief Problem-solving Officer). He likes to code away his days and nights when he’s not busy disrupting the career space.

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