Why your previous intern should hire your new one

Take it from an intern: Sometimes the best person to choose your next intern is the person currently in the role.

"Hey Ashley, when you graduate in May, your first job is to find a new intern."

That was the first time my boss had mentioned me having a role in the company beyond the length of my internship, which dissipates with my graduation date. I was very excited, and replied, "Does that mean I have a role with IrisPR when I graduate?"

Plenty of thoughts ran through my head after we had this discussion: How do I show that transition in my work? What do I need to start preparing for after graduation for the demands of a big-girl job? All the normal questions a graduate facing a new position asks. But most importantly, I wondered why my boss was entrusting me with finding a new intern when I had no hiring experience.

However, this was probably the easiest task I could ever be faced with, because if I did my job as an intern correctly, essentially, she was asking me to replace myself. Who better to find someone to fill a role then the person who previously did it justice? I knew what my employer expected of me when I was an intern, and I knew what it took to meet those expectations, so I truly had the upper hand.

Unlike anyone else, I would be able to do a full-circle analysis of a candidate, because only I had the experience to focus on:

Situation compared behavior
If I could put them into (micro-versions of) situations I found myself in regularly, monitor their actions, and understand their process, then I could trust that their behavior process was similar to mine. With a similar behavioral and thinking process, the transition of tasks would be easiest and the training needed would be kept to a minimum.

Task capacity
When an intern turns into an employee, their job duties don’t change, but the ownership of tasks becomes greater, and the unassigned tasks no longer make it onto the calendar. In other words, these things, which I normally would have been focusing on as an intern, now need someone to tend to them. The replacement intern would need to demonstrate the same multitasking ability as myself, as well as a similar, if not faster, speed of completion to maintain the expectations I set for my boss.

Skill balancing
I know what I am capable of producing, I know what my team is capable of producing, and I know what we are lacking. This allows me to find someone who holds those skills that we need most at the time, almost like a built-in intern recruiter.

Culture check and compatibility
Being the previous intern, and newest employee, there was an automatic line drawn between me and the new replacement. I would be answering their questions, working on transitioning roles, and spending a lot of time with him or her – so it was crucial we enjoyed each other’s company.

Ashley Incardone is an intern at Iris PR Software and a senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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