Hiring Interns for Your IT Company? 6 Questions to Ask

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on June 1, 2015

Internships in IT give students and recent graduates valuable experience and infuse fresh perspectives into the companies that hire them. An internship can also allow potential employers to learn more about prospective hires and prepare them to perform well once they transition into a full-time position.

To build stronger and more productive relationships with interns, start at the hiring stage. Here are six questions to ask prospective interns:

  1. “What are you most passionate about learning, and why?” Poised at the start of their careers, prospective interns often lack the experience to visualize a realistic career path – but they are experts at learning and discovering what they most want to learn next. By asking this question, hiring managers find out where an intern’s interests are likely to go next, which can help shape the intern’s career path with the company.
  2. “Tell me about a project you worked on in a previous role.” How a prospective intern answers this question sheds light on the student’s organizational, leadership, and problem-solving abilities, as well as her level of enthusiasm. Listen for the ways in which the prospective intern clarifies the problem at hand, developed a solution, collaborated with team members, and prioritized outcomes and results.
  3. “How would you like to create value as an intern?” One of the core benefits an intern brings to a company is a fresh perspective and new ideas – so it is important to choose interns who feel comfortable expressing these. Listen for answers that show the intern understands your company’s core product and service lines, mission, and values.
  4. “Why did you choose your major?” For many students, the choice of major is the first significant life decision they’ve tackled on their own. Rather than focusing on what the major entailed, pay attention to how the potential intern came to her choice: Did they weigh the alternatives, decide to pursue a known strength or shore up a known weakness, or simply follow the path of least resistance?
  5. “How would your best friend [or your professors] describe you?” Like the question “how would your co-workers [or boss] describe you?” for more experienced workers, this question asks the interviewee to switch perspectives and evaluate herself thoughtfully. It also sends the message that interns at your company are joining a social environment and culture, where their personalities matter as well as their knowledge.
  6. “What questions do you have for me?” As with all interviewees, never forget to open the floor to potential interns. The questions they ask you can be a valuable source of evaluation material as well. Do they seem enthusiastic and curious to learn more about your company? Are they looking for ways to add value from day one?

At TERRA Staffing, our staffing experts can answer your questions and help you find the people you need. Contact us today to learn more.

Categories: HR and Management Advice, Staffing Tips & Recruiting Trends

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