Selecting the right candidate for the role.
Interviewing for a role can be more difficult than usual when the applicant may not have an abundance of professional experience. Some of these candidates will be entering their first professional interviews. It is important to set out the process in a way which makes the applicants feel most comfortable, therefore allowing you to get a better judgement of them. Another point to consider is creating an evaluation form for each candidate, and make other notes such as their enthusiasm, skills, interests. The following resource gives some sample questions to help with this process and explains why they may be useful.
This is a great first question, to put candidates at ease and get them talking about a topic they know something about! Don’t overlook candidates who are switching careers, they will bring transferable skills and experience from other parts of their lives Prompt candidates to talk about interests outside of work, whether it’s sport or community or family involvement, this can be a way for them to show experience with teamwork, time management and communication or leadership skills.
How does the candidate see themselves becoming part of your team and best achieving their goals? What are those goals and how do they align with yours?
Asking why they’ve applied is a great way to understand if the candidate has done their homework and researched your organisation. They should have some insight into how they will contribute to your team.
Highlighting the candidates goals, their drive towards achieving these goals and external interests not only gives you an idea of the candidates commitment to work, but also helps you to get to know them on a personal level.
Will the candidate fit into the team, how will they achieve this, what will they do in the role? Be careful about being too restrictive about “cultural fit”: this type of question can unlock attributes that the candidate can add to your team, so be aware what elements might be missing, rather than seeking people exactly the same as who you already have!
Asking who their role model is, and what inspires them gives insight into what attributes they admire and how proactive they are. You could also ask what books, blogs or podcasts they enjoy, and whether they attend local Meetups, to understand if they supplement their academic study with self-directed learning and networking.
Some recruitment processes include aptitude, personality and technical tests. This can be a useful way to speed up the selection process, but you need to adapt the tests for intern recruitment. The following are a selection of recommendations for basic best practices when running test situations with potential interns.
Allow applicants time to prepare for the test and let them know what to expect and how much time it will take. The goal is usually to simulate the working environment that your new employee will experience and therefore see how well they will fit into that environment.
Make sure the test is relevant to the role and to their current ability. Testing your interns for something that they don’t know yet, or won’t be required in the role doesn’t give you accurate information about their ability to work in the role.
Offering feedback about the intern’s performance in the testing situation, regardless of the outcome, is valuable for all applicants to understand where their strengths and weaknesses were displayed in the test. This helps them to develop for future roles.
Less confident candidates may choose not to engage in a process that includes a test, so be aware of that when setting them! Is there another way you can assess candidates, perhaps during an in-person interview?
Tests where physical activity or hand-eye skills are not only unrelated to the role, but may also present a bias. For example, an applicant in a wheelchair would not be fairly tested if they were asked to compete in a game of soccer.
Going over the job description thoroughly in the interview was really useful and having [the employer] explain to me in full, like, 'Look, this is what the role involves. This is who it's funded by. This is what you'd be doing. These are the skills we want. This is what you'll be working with,' was really useful, because then I knew exactly how I felt about the position going into it.
This resource was designed and compiled by interns sourced through Summer of Tech 2017.