Ultimate list of skills your intern needs

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Whether you’ve just made the decision to hire interns or are still looking at the pros and cons and thinking if it is worth it, naturally the next question is how do you find the right interns to maximize the benefit you can gain from them? Many interns have only a little work experience, or even none, but to bring results they need to jump into action and learn on-the-go. So, how do you find the right match for your company? Here are ten skills we feel will help you to hire an intern that will not only fit your company, but be productive and move your business forward.

  • Enthusiasm and a can-do attitude

An intern brings the best results both to their own learning and the company, when they feel enthusiastic about their job. A positive attitude takes you far, and this will help the intern and you to have a good experience. With a can-do attitude the intern sees challenges more as a learning opportunity than an obstacle, and this will help them strive forward in their day-to-day tasks.

  • Leadership skills

Having leadership skills means that an intern is able to lead a project, letting current employees focus on something else. Leadership skills might be seen for example by showing the ability of being solution oriented, self-aware, able to empower others, and by being interested in world issues. In the interview, ask what kind of responsibilities the applicant has had in the past or if they have any experience from leading teams, even during their studies.

  • Adaptability

It is very important that the intern is easily adaptable to new situations, as the work they do might change from day-to-day. Flexibility is an absolute necessity. This also means that the intern will be able to help different people and learn more.

  • Team working skills

Interns need to work with a variety of different people, both other interns and co-workers. A productive intern is able to express their opinion in groups, ask questions, and co-operate with people from diverse backgrounds. You can spot people who have team working skills for example by asking about hobbies. If the applicant has experience in team sports or volunteering in organizations, they most likely will have great team working skills.

  • Critical thinking

As many interns lack a long working history, they are bound to face challenges while completing their tasks. This is when critical thinking steps in. Finding solutions in the face of challenges will make the intern come up with out-of-the-box ideas.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit

Innovativeness is one of the most sought-after skills when hiring interns. An intern who is creative and willing to take risks will surely leave their mark in your company. Entrepreneurial interns are also usually ambitious, which makes them strive for better in whatever they do. Entrepreneurial spirit or innovativeness can be tested in an interview with a case study question – see what out of the box ideas they can come up with in a short time!

  • Self-discipline

Although a good intern needs to be able to work in a team, they also need to show independence. They need to be able to work without supervision, keep up with deadlines, and make their own decisions. You don’t want an intern that waits until someone asks them to do something, but one who will find their way to contribute.

  • Resilience and perseverance

In today’s business world, everyone faces constant changes, and an intern needs to be ready to face them. The ability to continue through challenges and bounce back from hardships differentiates a productive intern from others. 

  • Willingness to learn

The reason for someone to do an internship in the first place is to learn and develop themselves. To take the most out of their internship, an intern should be able to receive and give feedback, and show curiosity towards their co-workers. The eagerness to learn should be apparent. Nowadays it is so easy to access online courses, that completing extra courses is a great sign of a person willing to learn continuously.

  • Motivation

Deep down, if there is no motivation, all the skills listed above do not matter. The intern should genuinely care for their job and your company. If there is no motivation, the intern will only be wasting their own and your time. You can already see one’s motivation in the way they answer the interview questions and by their body language.

Are you looking for an intern with these skills? We at AIESEC can help you find motivated interns that fit your company. Get in touch here.


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