THE GROUP INTERVIEW
As a Intern Alumni, I took great pride when I took over responsibility for the internship program in Reading. When it came time to hire, unless a student had incorrect contact information or forgot to change their cover letter from listing their strong desire to work for “the wrong team name”, I interviewed them. I didn’t expect the perfect resume. I knew the best way to find out if someone was a good candidate was to meet them. I wanted passionate, outgoing, hardworking individuals. Once we found the right people, we could train them for the job. Often times, it was the experiences that weren't written on the resume that made them perfect candidates.
The problem was interviewing was taking over my entire schedule. Don’t get me wrong, we found amazing people but I had other work to do. The next year I made a decision to conduct group interviews. Not only did I see individual personalities but I saw potential interns interact with each other. I don’t know whether candidates saw their competition and stepped up their game or felt more comfortable and revealed their true-selves? Whatever it was, it was gold.
VIDEO PRESENTATION AS PART OF THE INTERVIEW
To start off my interviews I explained the positions, gave some background and discussed our expectations. The next thing I did was show a video with footage of our staff participating in game entertainment. The video presentation showed interns as well as full time staff (including myself), running, dancing, wearing costumes, pulling tarp, handing out giveaways and MC’ing contests on the microphone. I felt that this was the best way to describe game day activities and it gave me the opportunity to see their reaction. Candidates either lit up with excitement or slunk down in their seats already hiding from the possibility of getting that involved.
I always conducted interviews with someone from the ticket department. I wanted to have 2 points of view and always keep ticket sales ("The Trunk of the Tree") in mind. I remember faces, not necessarily names. So we began taking photos of each candidate and attaching them to our notes. It sounds weird but we would look back at a face and remember the interview without looking at the notes.
INTERN BONDING RITUALS
Remember you aren’t just looking for a bunch of interns you are looking for the “Intern Class of 2018”. You are offering these students and alumni a spot on your team. They will have varying strengths and weaknesses but they will succeed for you and better themselves if they work together. Finding great people was only the first step. Make sure your full time staff is on board with a “Teaching Hospital Mentality”. The next step is to cultivate this culture of “Intern Class” with your training strategies and social activities. I am not recommending that you haze them but it will feel similar to a fraternity/sorority. Teach them, bond with them and feel the accomplishment when you have great candidates at the end of the season for you or other teams and organizations to hire. A great internship program takes a lot of work but it’s worth it!