We’ve been speaking and giving interview tips to some of you who are just about to start the interview process for your fall interns and we’ve been asked: How do you choose the best candidate when you can’t judge them on previous work experience?
I know that I sometimes have very high expectations of potential interns who have applied to work with us, but I believe our firm deserves the best! And so does yours!
There is no point in hiring an intern who will only increase your workload unnecessarily and reduce your team’s productivity. However, the whole point of an intern is that they are there to learn on the job – they don’t come with a ton of work experience.
So what should you expect? How do you choose a candidate if you can’t judge them on past experience?
We’ve put together a quick list of things you need to look out for when interviewing intern candidates.
- You want someone who really wants to work for YOU.
- You want them to show that they are organised, prepared, confident, and collected.
- What you’re looking for instead is potential.
- If they have intelligence and can show initiative, you can teach them the rest.
- You’re looking for excited, engaged and enthusiastic candidates that seem bright, polished and positive.
1. have they done their homework?
This is a big one for me. You don’t want someone at your firm who is just there because they need experience with just any company.
You want someone who really wants to work for YOU.
Ask them why they want to work for your company. If you feel like they’ve given you a generic answer, ask them what they like about your company.
It’s not difficult to google a company and check out their website and portfolio. All it takes is a tiny amount of initiative (another essential trait to look out for!)
It really is the least you should expect. You want someone who is genuinely excited and enthusiastic to work for you. Those are the types of interns who will work hard and who really want to learn.
2. first impressions count
Do they arrive slightly early? Are they dressed appropriately? Do they have a confident handshake? If yes, then great, they’ve got the basics covered.
You want them to show that they are organised, prepared, confident, and collected.
Don’t forget, your interns will represent you. You want them to leave a good impression on vendors and clients.
3. how do they handle being put on the spot?
As we mentioned before, you can’t judge intern candidates on previous work experience.
What you’re looking for instead is potential.
We like to give candidates examples or real life challenges faced by event planners and ask them how they would handle them. Most importantly, we ask them to explain why. For example, a firm who plans weddings might ask:
Your bride rips a tiny hole in her lace dress 20 minutes before the ceremony and starts to have a full-on panic attack. As her wedding planner, how would you handle this situation?
Does the candidate get flustered? The truth is, you don’t need them to get it 100% right. You just want to see if they can think for themselves and if they know how to behave appropriately.
If they have intelligence and can show initiative, you can teach them the rest.
4. do they ask questions?
If a candidate have plenty of questions and shows curiosity and enthusiasm, hire them! You want interns who are engaged and want to learn. As an event planner, you don’t just go with the basics of what a client or vendor has told you. You make sure you have the full picture, you ask questions. Interns who want to become event planners should have that same instinct.
You’re looking for excited, engaged and enthusiastic candidates that seem bright, polished and positive.
Do they fit this bill? Trust your gut…it will NEVER, ever fail you.
Bring on only the best who you think are open to learn new things and be molded into a great event planner.
Accept nothing less.
The Apprentice Program provides easy to implement, structured training for your interns, apprentices and new hires in the events industry. Get them onboard faster with how your firm plans, designs and produces live events.
The Apprentice Program includes:
- weekly “spark” training videos
- intern homework missions
- individual intern report cards
- intern pop quizzes
- mentor support and advice
Starting at just $75/intern USD per semester for our custom-crafted training, guaranteed to get your interns to think faster on their feet.
Join the waiting list for Fall 2016 start.