Interviewing an Intern? Don't Act So Cool.

By Ian Fernando

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?

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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