Spotting Stellar Interns: Traits to Look for

As you accelerate on the exciting journey of growing your company, it’s time to consider the tremendous potential that interns bring to the table. These budding talents not only infuse fresh perspectives and innovative thinking but also offer the promise of becoming future full-time assets, building your talent pipeline quickly and efficiently.

Here, we’re going to guide you on how to spot stellar interns with the right traits during interviews and when reviewing CVs.


1. Proactivity: Go-Getters Who Make Things Happen


In a fast-paced startup environment, proactive interns can be a game-changer. It’s key to look for candidates who take initiative, spot problems, and tackle challenges head-on. During interviews, you should ask questions that highlight their proactive nature:

  • “Can you tell me about a time you identified a problem and took action to solve it?”
  • “Can you describe a situation where you exceeded your job requirements?”
  • “How have you handled a situation where instructions were unclear or insufficient?”

Their responses to questions like this will tell you a lot about their attitude to solving problems and finding solutions proactively, not reactively.

On their CV, keep an eye out for the following indicators of proactivity:

  • Leadership roles in clubs or societies, showing their willingness to take charge and inspire others.
  • Entrepreneurial endeavors, like running a small business or leading a project, indicate their ability to take ownership and see ideas through.
  • Recognition or awards for contributions, which demonstrate that their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.


2. Adaptability: Thriving in Dynamic Startup Environments


Startups are known for their ever-changing landscape, and the ability to adapt is invaluable. Seek interns who have demonstrated adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges. In interviews, ask questions that gauge their adaptability, such as:

  • “Can you describe a situation where you had to adjust to a significant change at short notice?”
  • “Can you tell me about a time when you learned a new skill to complete a task?”
  • “How have you managed conflicting priorities in the past?”

On their CV, watch out for signs of adaptability, such as:

  • Experience in different fields or roles, indicating their ability (and willingness) to thrive in diverse settings.
  • Studying or working abroad, showcasing their openness to new experiences and cultures.
  • Participation in diverse extracurricular activities, suggests a willingness to explore and learn beyond their comfort zone.


3. Team Player: Collaboration and Communication is Key

No matter how big your team is, teamwork is paramount In the collaborative environment of a startup. Look for interns who can effectively work with others and contribute positively to a team dynamic. During interviews, ask questions that assess their team player qualities:

  • “Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with others to achieve a goal.”
  • “Can you give an example where you contributed to a team’s success?”
  • “Describe a situation where you had to manage a conflict within a team.”

On their CV, evidence of being a team player may include:

  • Participation in team sports, clubs, or group projects, showcasing their ability to work harmoniously with others.
  • Experience in collaborative roles or teamwork-focused environments, highlighting their adaptability to different team structures.
  • Community service or volunteer work, indicating their commitment to contributing to the greater good and making a positive impact.


4. Passion: Fueling Motivation and Commitment


Passionate interns can breathe life and energy into your startup. Seek candidates who genuinely care about your company’s mission and are eager to make a difference. In interviews, you can draw this trait out with questions like:

  • “What excites you about our startup and this role?”
  • “Tell us about a project or task you were enthusiastic about and why?”
  • “How does your career goal align with what our startup offers?”

On their CV, look for clues of passion, such as:

  • Relevant coursework, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities that align with your startup’s field, showing genuine interest and dedication.
  • A consistent theme of interests or skill development related to your industry, indicating a long-standing passion for the work you do.
  • Personal projects or initiatives in the field of your startup, demonstrating their proactive commitment to making a difference.


Save the Hassle and Hire Top Interns Through Virtual Internships

Taking these traits into account, finding stellar interns can have a lasting positive impact on your company’s trajectory. Whilst we may have outlined exactly what to ask and look for, finding that gem of an intern with a growth mindset that ticks the boxes when it comes to these traits can still be a challenge, not to mention a drain on time and resources spent hunting.

At Virtual Internships, the number one platform for hiring virtual interns, we intelligently match interns with the needs of your company and assess them beforehand for a growth mindset. This ensures that you find the intern right for your project needs, they come ready and eager to contribute to the growth of your company, and it is a positive learning experience for both parties.

Sign-up today to view, find, and hire interns in one place, at no cost to your company.