Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Intern Process

Readers, My good friend wrote a post the other day called "Ladies, Who Are You hiring?" He examined the courtship and selection process of a woman when she is choosing a man for a continuous relationship. Comparing the process to that of a business interview he stated that instead of conducting a formal interview, many women find themselves conducting elevator interviews (hurried interviews) and not waiting to receive his background investigation report. I agree with his analogy, most women don’t check out his current address, living arrangements, credit score, if he has held a job (or another relationship) longer than three months, does he have transportation issues arriving to work on time, etc. However, to expound of his interviewing process, I say there is more that goes into finding a good man than a simple interview.

For my post, I simply call it, the INTERN PROCESS.

For most companies, interns are a cheap way to find help. Most internships are free, some receive a stipend, and others are more lucrative and are paid internships. Companies like to hire interns because it gives them an internal “hiring pool” to select candidates who perform exceptionally well, or above average. These candidates are often asked to return (upon completion of a program or degree) for full employment (benefits, etc). I consider the dating process like an internship. Most women receive at least two or three applications a month from various men that they meet. For some, maybe more, others a bit less. However, these applications should be treated like intern applications. You really don’t want to go through the hassle of interviewing a bunch of people and finally selecting the right candidate, so you opt for an intern. And even if he isn’t the perfect person for you, he might just be a viable source of inspiration. Now, ladies the decision is yours how you go about selecting an intern, but I came up with a pretty good way of weeding out the bad ones. Now fellas, feel free to take up the intern prospect as well. Hiring from within does have its advantages!

Let me break this down for some of you all. Basically you need to ask yourself one of two questions. Question one. Is this person talking to me someone I can take seriously? Question two. Am I ready for a serious commitment? If all you are looking for is a good time, well then by all means date around. Have fun. Do you boo boo. But if you are really looking for someone you can grow with, start by asking yourself these two questions. The intern process can be completed in as little time as a two weeks and as long as a month or two. If you are good at spotting potential candidates and looking for great qualities in people, perhaps your process is short. For others, it may take a bit longer, but always follow clues that pop up along the way.

First, the actual application itself must be taken into consideration. Reading is fundamental folks and how he applies is even more important. Does he follow directions well, and is able to complete the application in its entirety? A good candidate will not only present a well completed application, but it will also be legible. He will include his references and his resume will most likely match up with what you are looking for. Are their coffee stains on his resume? Did he fax it over? Did he follow up with you after submitting his application to see if you received it? All these things must be taken into consideration when selecting an intern. It’s often best to find an intern from a reputable source. Outside the club just isn’t the right “agency” to select an intern. After a night of gyrating and alcohol absorption, I just don’t see that application coming in too well. In other words, how was his initial approach to you? Did he use one of those old tired lines we have all heard before? Did he offer you a drink or a dance? Did he stop you on a busy street to admire your curves? This is what I call the application process. His appearance. His tone, voice, diction, etc. His gestures. His actions. It is up to you to decide if his application is in accordance to your company policy.

Second, the initial interview. Like most job candidates, interns must go on interviews as well. A great resume can match up perfectly with an asshole. It is important to keep that into consideration and when asking questions on the interview. A dedicated intern will see your company (you) as an investment in his/her life and will want to be a part of your time. He will make every effort to show up prepared and lay out his employment history. Someone who is just in it for the thrills, most likely will show up initially, but eventually the excuses will start pilling in. He might even question you about the interviewing process, or every five minutes cannot get your body off his brain. How soft you must feel! He might even ask some personal questions a little too up front before you even get to know each other. It's also a good idea to let him know the job description and responsibilities up front. Let the brother know you are looking for a long term commitment and not a fling.

Many ladies fail by conducting interviews in house. Why? He already has himself in the door at that point. You might as well hire him on the spot! Unless you want him to move in ASAP as a part of his job description and you are prepared to fully house an intern, let him commute to work. It is important to conduct the first interview on neutral ground in order to maximize your potential in finding a great intern, and also keeping it on neutral ground is a great way to find out how comfortable the intern is in public situations with you. For first interviews a coffee shop, book store, lunchtime restaurant (don’t go formal and expect the intern to pay for your food, just because), go ahead and see if he pays for your iced mocha latte from Starbucks. Remember you are not on a date, but conducting an interview. You want to be able to hear what he has to say and vice versa. Perhaps a nice walk in the park or meeting up at your favorite happy hour place can provide better alternatives to first interview places. Keep things simple and easy going, you want the conversation to flow. Notice his behavior and trust your instincts. If all goes with the initial interview, it is VERY IMPORTANT to follow up a second interview! Yes, ladies. A second interview is extremely important, which I will discuss later.

For now, decide yourself if the initial interview is a phone interview or a face-to-face encounter on neutral ground. For most, a phone interview will suffice. A few important notices should be is there a lot of background noise on the phone when you talk to him? Does he constantly say, hold on? Does he curse people out while on the phone with you? Did he call you at 2AM or 2PM? Timing is very important! If he has to attend to another matter that comes up while you are on the phone, does he return the call back in a timely fashion? And most importantly, does he answer your questions? I know some of you all are like WTF, but if you listen well… he may be dodging your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask how long was your last relationship? Are you in a relationship? Do you have any stalker ex’s, baby mama drama, or other unnecessary drama that may be detrimental to your development? Ask his sexual history and please ask when’s the last time he was tested for EVERYTHING and if he has ever had an STD? After the initial interview review what you have heard and with your best judgment decide if he should proceed to the next round.

The follow up interview. As stated before, it is important to provide a follow up interview. If things go well with the initial interview a follow up is needed before making a decision. Many mistakes can happen along the way and it is important to have this second interview to solidify that this person is truly interested in the job advertisement. You might even need a third! Just remember that you want the intern the same as the intern wants you. If it’s not a good match no need for the internship to commence. Just simply thank him for his time, and you’ll be in touch! No phone calls needed. However, if the second interview, also on neutral ground works out well and your follow up questions have been answered, and you think he is a good match for the company then proceed to the initiation of the internship. The follow up interview should be conducted much in the same way the initial interview was conducted. Neutral ground and remember to have fun. Perhaps a day trip to a museum, a day trip out on the water, and/or an old school arcade or bowling alley. Whatever you decide remember he is a potential intern and you are still watching for those non verbal clues.

Third, the internship process begins. Most internships are 90 days (3 mts) or a bit longer, and basically provides the intern with experience and the company with a more cost effective labor. I call this part of the process actual “dating.” Decide for yourself if you have multiple interns or just one at a time. I think it’s best to have one intern at a time. Allow yourself some time to gather some information about what kind of person he is. See before you go OUT on a date with someone you gotta interview them. You don’t conduct your interview while you are on the date, you do this before hand, so you have a better understanding of who you are out with. The intern benefits from this experience because during the 90 day process he is figuring out if he is a good asset to the company. After the internship is over conduct your exit review or continue to a full hiring. The choice is yours.

Just always keep in mind ladies... you may not be his only interview that week and he may not be your only interviewee of the week.

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