7 Simple Steps to Finding Interns that Make a Difference

For some businesses, internships are afterthoughts: temporary positions awarded to friends or family members looking for a foothold on the first rung of the occupational ladder.

But they don't have to be this way. Internships can be highly rewarding when you approach them like the two-way opportunities they represent. We outline how to go about finding interns that can make a difference in your business in the following seven steps.

1. Be Clear About Expectations from the Get-go

Offering an internship opportunity is no different than offering a job. Specify the duties and responsibilities of the position, hours expected, potential growth opportunities, and compensation in the internship description. Being as thorough as possible will help attract candidates who suit the position and cut down on time spent filtering through applications from underqualified individuals.

2. Conduct Interviews In Person Or Virtually, Twice

Whether you plan to meet a candidate in person or conduct a virtual interview, it's crucial to hold interviews at least twice. You'll have quite a few questions about their skills and experience. They'll probably have an equally long list for you, and a single thirty- or forty-five-minute interview won't be enough time to cover everything. This two-part approach will help you confirm your initial thoughts and verify important details.

3. Look for Confidence and Teachability

When getting to know a candidate, keep an eye out for signs of confidence and teachability. These traits are clear indicators of someone who isn't afraid to try new things, learn from their mistakes, and adapt to their surroundings. A willingness to learn might be the most crucial quality, as internships are just as much educational opportunities as they are work relationships between you and the intern.

4. Discuss the Potential for Professional Growth

In some cases, successful internships transition into full-time positions within the business. Discussing the potential for professional growth with an intern is a great way to gauge their ambition. A typical growth plan for an intern starts at the moment of hire and ends with a job offer, covering all the milestones of potential accomplishments.

By laying this process out step-by-step with a candidate, you can determine if their professional goals align with yours and help them understand that you're looking to make a serious investment in them.

5. Consider Behavioral and Personality Assessment Tools

Carefully examining an intern candidate's resume is a great way to learn more about their experience, but behavioral and personality assessments can provide more significant insights into how they'll handle work-related situations that might come up on the job.

Many of these assessments are available online at no or minimal cost. You can save time on your end by having a candidate complete the assessment independently and reviewing the results when it's convenient for you.

You may discover that a candidate with all the right qualifications on paper doesn't have the right personality or behavioral traits for the job.

6. Consider A Small Recruiting Service

Recruitment agencies are great resources for locating traditional job applicants, and there's no reason your business can't benefit from their services when searching for interns who are difference makers. One of the biggest benefits of a recruiting service is time saved screening resumes, contacting applicants, and reviewing any initial assessments. In addition, an experienced recruiter might spot a perfect fit you'd otherwise miss.

7. Cast A Wide Net

When you start looking for the perfect intern, think big. Don't limit yourself to a single job posting on your company website. If you have multiple social media channels that you use for business, post your internship on all of them.

Career websites are another excellent resource for getting the word out, with sites like wayup and Internship.com aimed specifically at aspiring interns. You can even reach out to career counseling centers based out of local schools and colleges. The more applicants you have access to, the better your chances of finding a candidate who can hit the ground running from day one.

Once you find the right candidate, you can take steps to develop an excellent internship program, ensuring that the intern you choose can excel in the position. Or maybe even be a difference maker in your enterprise business.