Program Coordinator Interview
In this interview with an college Internship Coordinator you’ll learn what employers are looking for, how they screen candidates, and how they make hiring decisions.
What does your internship coordinator job entail?
I work at a small liberal arts college, running their internship program. Basically, when a student wants to apply for an internship, they come to me to check their major’s requirements and to find out what companies in the area are hiring.
I also work with companies to help place the right students with them. If a company wants to work through our program, they can set parameters, and instead of getting 20 applications, we review them all and I send them the top three to five candidates. The range of employers is interesting, from winery internships to government positions.
How many students do you help place every year?
We have a student body of about 5,500, and there are usually around 100 students doing internships every year. That’s not counting the education majors who have to do a semester of student teaching to graduate.
What are some of the challenges you face?
It is hard to encourage students to find internships early. Most of the time, you have to apply long before the new semester starts, and at that point, students aren’t really thinking about what they will be doing in three or four months. Some of the companies are also hard to deal with because they want interns, but they refuse to conform to our college requirements to allow students to get credit.
What makes a student a good internship candidate?
Above all, willingness to learn. You can teach someone almost anything, but you can’t teach them to come to work motivated. When we look at candidates and help students apply, we always tell them that their experience isn’t as important as finding an internship that excited them.
What advice do you have for companies who want interns?
Be flexible. If the student can’t get credit and you don’t pay, you won’t find an intern very easily. Pay is nice, but at least make sure you offer college credit.
What advice do you have for internship candidates?
Apply early and often. The more applications you have out there, the better!