The hiring process can be difficult and the search for a fresh perspective can seem tedious, but there may be excellent talent within your company. Onboarding an existing intern can add to your team and bring insights and perspective to your company that you’re already confident in. The benefits of hiring an intern are, they have already been exposed to your brand values and expectations of the company. In a leadership or hiring role it can be difficult to gauge an intern’s abilities when you are not with them the majority of the time. These are some key attributes to look out for when working alongside your interns to measure whether they are a good fit for a permanent position.
1 – They’ve Needed Little Direction
Training an intern can have a steep learning curve, as there is often lots of information to pass on in a short period of time. It is important to observe how they use the information presented to them, post-training. It is important to note whether they are resourceful with the information they were given and expand on their new skills through their hands-on experience, or if they bombard coworkers with questions that were clearly covered during the training. This will also give you a better understanding of their problem-solving abilities when given a task that may not be 100% clear. Are they able to connect the dots and use what they have learned in their training, their educational background, and common sense to complete the task thoroughly?
2 – They Have Professional Communication Skills
Being a clear and concise communicator is imperative in any professional setting. Basic professional communications skills are mostly common sense, and they are often innate. It is important to gain feedback from your coworkers on their interaction with interns, especially if things have gone wrong, or if they’ve made mistakes. How did the intern respond? Did they take ownership for their part to try and rectify the situation? In addition, is your intern able to prepare professional written documents with little or no feedback? If there is an opportunity, how do they interact with clients? Are they able to calm an unhappy client? Take all of these factors into consideration when gauging their communications skills.
3 – They Have Emotional Intelligence
Like professional communication skills, emotional intelligence is often inherent, and it may be difficult to acquire over a short period of time. A person’s natural ability to “read the room” is imperative and following social nuances and cues can set a good intern up to be a future employee. A sign of emotional intelligence is taking initiative and understanding how to fill in the gaps. An example of emotional intelligence would be, if an intern completed a task before being directed to do so, or took a new approach with reasoning why their course of action is beneficial to the company.
4 – They Have a Clear Understanding of the Field
A person’s understanding of the field is not just being able to articulate the nuts and bolts of the operations, but also the nuanced workings of the industry. This is demonstrated by an ability to pick up lingo and skills quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, an intern who has a sincere interest in the field is more likely to have a clearer understanding of the how, what, and why of your operations. For example, you can tell if a fashion intern is passionate about the industry through the way they describe the construction of a garment or through their use of industry language.
While this is an excellent guideline to make your decision on a new hire, above all else, trust your intuition. If you see potential in one of your interns, and think they can contribute to your company, don’t be afraid to give them a chance. Your belief in them may be the key to their success with your brand.
Looking for new talent but just don’t have the time to rifle through resumes and cover letters? Try Style Nine to Five’s Hourly Recruiting service. Founder, Christie Lohr, will use her industry contacts to find the best fit for the role and your company.
Demetra Maragos– Demetra is a Master of Arts candidate at New York University, who loves thinking outside of conventional lines to combine her passions of everything culture, fashion and lifestyle.