A couple weeks ago, I posted ways to develop a good mentality for your internship from my perspective as an intern. This week, I asked a few intern employers what qualities they most desire in an intern. Here’s what they had to say.
“Thirst for knowledge and patience – I want them to be eager to help and seek out projects but also know that it is a balancing act for us to delegate and come up with one-time projects.” — Sarah Waninger, Assistant Controller, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc.
“Be an enthusiastic sponge. Ask clarifying questions only after some legwork has been done. Don’t hesitate to ask for more assignments if you don’t have enough to do. Volunteering shows enthusiasm, leadership and interest in the organization and is definitely a plus.” — Kathy Humphrey, Chief Operating Officer, The International Center
“I look for an intern who has the passion to succeed and has a lot of self-initiative.” — Suzanna Ames-Kendall, Roche Diagnostics
“It’s a tie between willingness to learn and open to sharing ideas. You have a very special opportunity to come in and learn from the experts who are working in real business situations everyday. Take advantage of it by looking at how they approach problems and provide solutions and try to apply that to your work in your internship. On the other side, at Appirio, we bring in interns because we know they are smart! It’s important to be confident in your ideas and be willing to share them with the whole team. That could be the next big idea that really helps out a customer!” — Brianne Thomas, Appirio
“Enthusiasm and the willingness to learn – I have noticed if the interns do not have the passion or enthusiasm to want to learn and do the job, it will not be a successful outcome for either party. The idea is for both parties to take something away from the experience: we teach, they learn; we learn, they teach.” — Trelles Evans, Manager Employee Development and Training, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc.
If you are in the middle of an internship right now, do you understand what your employer expects from you? What about the kind of attitude your employer hopes you have? This is a great question to ask at the end of a job interview – “What qualities do you want this hire to exhibit on the job?”