Recruiting Great Interns

Recruiting Great Interns: Casting the Net
Written by Andy Verhoff, Ohio History Connection and Judy James, Akron-Summit County Public Library

Posting Internship Opportunities:
In order to recruit the best candidates for your organization’s internship, a well-written posting is essential. An effective posting should include the following elements:

  • Description of what the internship will entail
  • Brief description of your organization
  • Academic requirements and experience required
  • Paid or unpaid?
  • Start and end dates; duration
  • Requirements for application: e.g. application (sample application can be found here), resume, letter, references
  • Application deadline
  • Contact information for resume submission

Where to Post Internship Opportunities:

Identify places where you can find interns that meet the qualifications outlined in the job description. Depending upon the focus of your organization, the following academic departments may be able to connect you with students who are seeking internships.

  • History
  • Library science
  • Archives
  • Career services

Advertising Your Internship Opportunities:
There are many options for posting internship opportunities.

  • Your website
  • Your social media site(s)
  • Your newsletter
  • School newspapers
  • Student listservs for history, library science, and archives students
  • Professional listservs, e.g., Society of Ohio Archivists, H-Public (public history)
  • Academic faculty
  • Professional organizations, e.g. Ohio Local History Alliance, Ohio Library Council, Society of Ohio Archivists, Ohio Museums Association
  • Job and internship fairs at local universities

Conducting an Effective Interview
It is essential that an interview be conducted to ascertain if the intern’s experience and goals for learning are compatible with your organization. An interview will also serve as a valuable experience for the student.

  • Before conducting interviews, it is important to have a list of questions. Think about what you want to know about the candidate, and compose questions accordingly. Although some questions will be dictated by the nature of the project, others can be standard interview questions regarding experience, education, etc.
  • Out of respect for the candidate’s time, block out and devote time to each interview without interruptions.
  • Conduct interviews in view of “witnesses” and/or with another staff member who can bring a second set of observations to the evaluation of the candidate.
  • Pay close attention to how the intern presents him or herself.
  • Two great candidates? Conduct a second round of interviews and decide based on those. Consult with other staff member to help evaluate the candidate.
  • Introduce the interviewers to the candidate. Before asking questions, explain what the internship will entail. Describe expectations for the internship as well as the benefit the intern will gain from the experience.