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Worst and Best Intern Qualities…According to Hiring Managers
January 18, 2018
Worst and Best Intern Qualities…According to Hiring Managers

You might look good on paper, but during your interview process, hiring managers know how to tell the difference between a flower and a weed.

Here are the worst and best intern qualities that make the difference between blossoming or being pulled after your interview: 

The Worst Intern qualities:

Companies are super careful about who they choose to fill their internships. They have a reputation and culture to preserve and work to be done.

Here’s how you should act if you want potential employers to weed you out:

  • Sloppiness: Not much to say here except err on the side of overdressing. Wrinkled clothing or messy hair indicate a lack of attention to detail and unpreparedness. DC interns dress for business.
  • The Slacker – This is pretty self-explanatory. A serious intern shows up early and with energy. Hiring managers want to see that you are eager to learn and to work. Be prepared. Learn about the company, the industry, the accomplishments of the people you would be working with and how you will contribute to their efforts. If you are a slacker who plans to slide by without making any positive contributions, please head to the back of the line.
  • The Cynic – One person’s negative attitude can bring down an entire team, so negativity and constant dissatisfaction are not desirable qualities for any business. Watch your language and never badmouth a previous employer. Practice beforehand with a friend, particularly noticing negativity. Weed that out.
  • The Space Cadet – What good is having an intern if they’re only interested in procrastinating and staring at the clock? If you are going to show potential employers that you are flighty, unreliable, indecisive, or altogether disinterested in their position, then don’t even bother applying. You won’t benefit much from an internship position, and they won’t see any benefit in having you.
  • The Know-It-All – No one likes a know-it-all. If you already know everything, why intern? Don’t walk into your interview showing aggressive tendencies and call them “leadership abilities”. True leaders will see right through that, and they will know that this quality makes it very difficult to keep the peace in a workplace environment.
  • The Cash Cow – Of course, getting the money part clear is important and professional. But if all you want to talk about is your pay and what you can do to get more, understand that it will not make a good impression. They’ll know that a money-hungry candidate isn’t someone who is likely to be passionate about their work.

The best intern qualities:

We all have something good to bring to the table. What is more important is whether or not you’re the right fit for that particular company. One way that you can increase your chances of winning the hiring manager over is by making sure you exhibit qualities that will carry a team’s efforts to the next level.

Here’s the best intern qualities you can have:

  • The Eager Beaver – Companies want candidates who come in ready to hit the ground running. In their eyes, it is a major plus if you are already involved and engaging in various aspects of their industry, perhaps through your own blog articles or social media shares. That is a big sign that you are ready to be a part of their team.
  • The Die-Hard Company Fan – Show these companies that you could easily be the founder and president of their fan club. Show them that you already know the ins and outs, and come prepared with fresh and creative ideas that will enhance and advance company goals. Don’t overdo this though!
  • The Creative Culprit – Any manager worth their salt knows that a creative mind should never go to waste! Candidates who show real passion and creativity have a “wow” factor that is anything but ordinary. Show them that you can think different, and be flexible with any challenge ahead.
  • The Fast Learner – Companies want to see that you have come ready to learn. They know that if you are quick to process new information you will soon be able to complete projects with your eyes closed. Intelligence really counts.
  • The Chameleon – Anyone who can wear many hats and work with lots of different personality types is going to be highly sought-after. Companies know that this quality gives you the ability to succeed in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment with no problem.

You have the talent and the drive! Now, it’s time to show your future employer how you will put those qualities to work for them.

Be an intern candidate that hiring managers are dying to meet.