These Traits Are Not Unique To Interns



When I talk to professionals and managers about the reasons they don’t work with interns or their fears about working with interns the same major themes emerge. Many people fear that interns will not show up to work or will not be committed to the work because they feel it isn’t a “real” job.


I love working with interns, even though I have also encountered interns who had poor attendance and interns who didn’t treat their internship like a real job. The truth is that I have also fired employees who treated their jobs in the same manner. Tardiness, absenteeism, and lack of commitment are traits that are not unique to interns.

Here are 7 (additional) traits that are not unique to interns:

  1. Irresponsible – An intern is a newcomer to a career field whose purpose is to learn the industry. Although an intern is usually a young adult, irresponsibility is not character trait of all interns. Many interns are committed to learning and professional development and show it by making valuable contributions to their host companies.


  1. Poor Performance – Many interns listen attentively, ask clarifying questions, take pride in their work, and perform to the best of their abilities. There are some employees who simply do not.


  1. Doesn’t Follow Directions – Although you may have heard horror stories about interns who have broken expensive equipment or ruined a presentation, not following directions is not a trait that is unique to interns. Many new and seasoned professionals don’t take direction well or believe that their way is the best way or the only way.


  1. Entitled – Rarely do I hear someone mention millennials without mentioning the word entitled. Entitlement is a common workplace challenge because many employees (not only interns) believe that they have paid their dues or that they deserve certain projects or that specific work is beneath them.


  1. Arrogant – Arrogance and entitlement are first cousins. Arrogance goes beyond thinking you are more deserving or better than your coworkers to bragging, criticizing others, and disrespect.


  1. Negative – Negativity is detrimental to every business. Complaining about workload, work environment, and coworkers and being disagreeable, rude, or uncooperative are not traits that are unique to interns.


  1. Lack of Confidence – Although an intern is a novice, many feel confident in their ability to perform well. There are some employees who are so afraid to make a mistake that they don’t take initiative and others whose lack of confidence causes them to second-guess important decisions which can also lead to mistakes or mishaps.


Targeted recruiting, strategic interviewing, and thorough onboarding can help eliminate the prevalence of challenging or poor performing interns and employees.


Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a travel and cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career advancement. She has a strong background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is an accomplished manager, professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of diverse work experience into Packaged For Success Enterprises, a full service training and professional development company.

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