Interviewing an Intern? Don’t Act So Cool.


Today, I went to a local event at Rutgers University for employers. It was to help put insight on how to utilize colleges to use student services to find interns or employees for small business. The session was small only housed about 20 or less employers and gave an overview of how Rutgers specifically handles employers and students to work together.

Every employer was dressed in top notched business suites with watches and pinky rings. I wore just a button up, jeans, and some timberland boots (it was raining). Awkward. I forgot that it was a business gathering.

I left after 15 minutes.

The reason not because I was out of place but because I was more interested in utilizing interns than going through a government system which pays for tuition then I have to pay a certain percentage, then only provide certain hours, making sure they work on campus or provide transportation, etc, etc, etc.

I just wanted someone that can do certain tasks that I need done. Luckily a friend of mine recommended a friend of his to interview. I interviewed this fellow college student in his 3rd year and seems like a good fit. I am setting him up with the tools to start next week.

The most weird part about this whole thing was on a college campus, I haven’t been on a college campus in a long time – plus I didn’t think I was that prepared to interview this person. Most of my work is outsourced based on recommendations, paid services, or trial and error. Finding someone to do a small project to do online isn’t that hard. Even with my admin, which is local, she wasn’t that hard to really interview.

But for the specific task I interviewed the intern for, it was kinda of hard. The reason is because I actually didn’t know what I wanted. I knew what I wanted but putting it in an’ interview’ type of setting, not so much. I basically went straight to the point and stated I need this and this and this and this stuff done like so via this way and has to be like this which ends up there.

… definitely was not a good way to approach a student, I bet I scared him.

Knowingly enough he understood and even put his own input! NICE! So what is the purpose of this post? As I am growing my business, interviewing is an experience. So here are some tips on what you should do – in which I failed to do, but will make sure I do next time.

  1. Know what you want, provide a job description and tasks to the intern.
  2. What does your company do. Provide and introduce yourself and your company prior to tasks
  3. Ask what they are looking for after and during the internship. paid or experience?
  4. Ask for past school projects or work in relation to your project or tasks
  5. What does the interviewee do for fun, don’t always talk about what YOU want.
  6. Don’t act like you know, show your fault and why you want the intern to work and grow with you.

These are some of the things that came up to me after I interviewed this person. I kicked myself in the ass later on because I felt like I didn’t utilize his time well enough. In the end he is looking forward to work with my business and I hope I can give him the knowledge to expand.

Have you interviewed anyone for your business, what do you look for? What kind of questions do you ask? Are you professional about it? Do you keep it fun?

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  • I interviewed about 20 people once at a temp office with a receptionist, etc. I ended up not hiring any of those 20 but it was an enlightening experience. Since then I’ve just looked at resumes, called a few for phone interviews, then just do one interview for the best applicant and that seems to have worked best.

  • also depends on the types of position you want to fill I guess
    if is dev work, I’d look for computer science majors, ad copy writing form business majors

    wouldn’t really want a tech wiz writing my ad copies.

  • Nice tips on how to look for employees and what to prepare when you do have ones.. gotta keep it growing!

  • I think these are the ways which should be considered well while taking an interview for an intern.

  • This is a great points for a interview in general. But personally I hate to interview people is hard situation get a picture of somebody in a hour or so.

  • @bikram, Yes is hard to get the picture of somebody but that the reason you need to focus and what you need for that position.

  • Interviewing is one side of business that I wouldn’t look forward to. I’ve been involved in weeding out resumes before and that alone was a very difficult task.

  • The first impression is very important not only for the potential staff but for the employers. Here, you need to show your seriousness with more decent/official look. This is my personal opinion.

  • bikram, that is true but what other way is there anyway? If you have people turning up with similar qualifications, it will be hard to choose between them so a productive interview with good questions is the fairest way to make a decision.

  • I haven’t had to hire anyone yet but I did bring a friend on to help once and it was a horrible idea. I thought what I do is easy and can be easily taught, I was wrong

  • bad thing is you dont always get the person to do what exactly you want , need to judge people right is the best way to get things done … i need to learn this thing as i want to outsource my blogs

  • Ricky Ahuja

    I interview interns all the time, amazing the lack of professionalism lot have. However, there is a lot of intelligent and motivated talent out there, just have to know what to look for.