Spring internship hiring season has come and gone, and now it’s time to sit back and reflect on what worked for your company and what didn’t. The internship screening process plays an integral role in the hiring journey. Learning to ask the right internship interview questions can save recruiters and hiring managers time, and help them to identify top talent to stream into a candidate pool.
What can you do better next time around to ensure you’re bringing the best and brightest on board? We’ve broken down some key things to keep in mind as you structure your screening process:
Define Your Goals
Having an internship program is ideal for the interns themselves – they have an opportunity to get real-life job experience at your company, add to their resume, and collect professional contacts and recommendations. For your business to benefit from the time and effort you put into creating the program, you should outline your goals for having an internship program.
Before you begin the screening process, consider these three things:
- Are we hoping to hire our interns full-time after the internships end?
- How many full-time roles are we looking to fill through this program?
- If we’re not hiring full-time, how can we keep good interns in our pipeline for opportunities down the road?
Defining your goals as a company is the first step towards structuring your internship screening process. With an endgame in mind, you can begin to craft an interview process that will satisfy your long-term hiring goals, while also fostering a positive candidate experience that will keep talent engaged with your company long after the discussions end.
Standardization Is Key
Whether you’re hiring five or 500 interns, ensuring you have a standardized interview process in place is crucial to providing a fair and balanced interview process, and to reducing time-to-hire rates. While different roles may require different questions, pinpointing a set list of standard questions to screen each candidate will make it easier to identify top talent from the get-go.
Standard questions should help the interviewer get a sense of the following from each candidate:
- What are your plans as you prepare for graduation?
- Do you enjoy working in teams?
- What made you want to apply for this position?
Skills-based Questions: What Matters?
Students looking for an internship at your company are typically coming to you with little or no experience – after all, it’s an opportunity for them to learn, and get a feel for what it would be like to be an entry-level employee at your company.
During the interview process, recruiters and hiring managers must find a way to assess skills in a different way than they would with a candidate who has a long work history. With a lack of employment history to fall back on, factors like GPA, degrees and other internship experience come into play when hiring managers are formulating questions about skills.
- Are you involved in extracurricular activities? What have you learned from them?
- Describe one challenge you faced at work, and how you overcame it.
- Besides work experience, what other skills make you qualified for this job?
If you’re in an industry where specific skill sets are crucial, structure your screening interviews in a way that will allow an internship candidate to showcase their skills beyond what’s written on their resume. Here are some ways to achieve this goal:
- Video interviews where interns can show their skills in real-life demonstrations
- Gamification to engage candidates while also assessing aptitude
- Asking for a portfolio to showcase prior projects
Find Your Biggest Fans
Skills are one thing, but if turning interns into full-time hires is your company’s end goal, then it’s important to know from the start if they’d be willing to take a job offer at the end of their internship. During the screening process:
- Identify where else they may be applying
- Ask if they have any other offers on the table
- Inquire as to why they applied to your company
The Bottom Line
A strong screening process sets the tone for the rest of a candidate’s hiring journey. By understanding your company’s goals and standardizing the process, you can create a solid interview strategy that will allow you to make better hires, faster.
Interested in learning more on how digital interviewing can help improve your intern screening process while improving candidate experience? Get in touch with Take the Interview here.