Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Interview Tips for Hiring Interns

Last week we talked about the importance of taking your internship job postings seriously. It is important to come up with and post a thorough job description, make contact with local colleges, and have a clear idea of the type of compensation you can provide. Once this process is complete, you will (hopefully) have a manageable quantity of applications trickle in… which then leads to the interview process. Like advertising for interns, interviewing interns should be taken as seriously as a full-time employee. This is because good summer help can often turn into good full-time help—not to mention the fact that you don’t want to work with a crummy intern all summer. Here are some interview tips for your internship candidates: questions to ask, and warning signs to watch out for.

First, begin your interview by giving the candidate background on your company and the position. Most interns work as summer help to gain valuable work experience that will open professional doors for them down the road. In order to get top talent, it is important to sell the value of an internship with your company. This is where you will be glad that you formulated such a specific and goal-oriented job description.

Second, check out a few lists of great interview questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple, for the most part. Questions like:

  • What are you studying and why?
  • Why did you apply for this internship position?
  • What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

Feel free to ask a bit more about an intern’s college experience, if they are a college student. For interns, college classes and extracurricular activities are the equivalent of job experience. Then feel free to inquire about work habits and other normal professional questions:

  • Describe a time when you had a difficult work situation that you had to overcome.
  • How do you manage multiple projects at once?

These questions will help you determine how the intern will function as good summer help.

In addition to these interview tips, let’s talk a bit about red flags to watch out for when interviewing interns. Be wary of interns who are:

  • Unenthusiastic: interns should be passionate about their field and about the opportunity to work with professionals as summer help.
  • Self-centered: interns should think of their internships as learning experiences, not opportunities to show off.
  • Not knowledgeable about your company and the position: this shows a lack of interest.

These interview tips for intern candidates should help you nab the perfect talent for your company. Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll go over tips for managing those interns once you have them.

What interview tips do you have for interviewing summer help? Start a conversation below!

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Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.