As the summer internship season kicks into high gear, a new survey by Korn Ferry (NYSE:KSFY) points to the reasons bosses would choose one intern candidate over another.
Nearly two-thirds of professionals surveyed (65%) said passion is the top attribute they look for when hiring an intern. Significantly trailing were an intern’s performance (21%), school they attended (7%), grades (4%) and pedigree (3%).
When asked what the biggest intern performance deal-breaker is, the largest percentage (37%) said entitlement. In addition, more than two-thirds (67%) said learning should be the most important area of focus for interns.
“Coming from a highly regarded school or having a strong pedigree will only get intern candidates so far,” said Ally Van Deuren, Korn Ferry University Relations Center of Excellence Lead for North America. “What really matters is attitude and their willingness to work, learn and grow.”
Virtually all of the respondents (98%) said internships are important to landing a job, and 99% said they are likely to hire interns on for full-time positions if the intern performs well. Nearly two-thirds (62%) said they personally had an internship that led to a full-time job.
“Internships are a key step in becoming a qualified professional,” said Van Deuren. “Success however is a two-way street – interns need to ask questions and stretch their capabilities, and employers must offer meaningful and important work to help the intern advance.”
The survey also found that professional networking still rules – the top way bosses find high-performing interns is through a connection.
“Today’s interns could be tomorrow’s organisational leaders. It is incumbent upon managers to take the intern hiring process seriously to help their organisations succeed long term,” said Van Deuren.