The girl on The Black Market's cover reminds me of Sansa Stark.
standing----still said: Dear QueryQuagmire, I bow before your magnificence with an offering of Cheez-Its, and humbly inquire: What qualities do you look for when interviewing potential interns? How much experience do they typically have?
I feel like I’ve answered something similar before, but I can’t seem to locate it anywhere in my archives. So here’s what I look for in an intern:
- A high school diploma (or equivalent) and at least one year of secondary education with the stated intention to continue that education. In other words: college students.
- Good communication skills. I need my interns to be forthcoming with information and unafraid to approach me. I also need them to be able to communicate with authors without being paralyzed by fear.
- A decent sense of humor. After all, they will be putting up with me.
- A reading habit. This seems obvious, but I shit you not I once interviewed a potential intern who could not name a single book she’d ever enjoyed reading. Another interviewee could only name books she’d been forced to read for class. Another named “Atlas Shrugged” as their favorite book. These are the only three unacceptable answers to the question “What’s a book you recently enjoyed reading?” This question is a test, and you can pass the test by answering with literally anything other than the three examples I just listed.
- Professionalism in presentation. Yes, I judge books by their covers. I expect my interns to look neat and grown-up. This means you need to take a shower, dress like you’re entering an office and not a night club, and fucking tie your tie correctly. If you’re the guy who had your dad tie your tie one time seven years ago, and you just loosen the knot every time you need to put it on or take it off, I will fucking notice.*
- Some kind of work or volunteer experience is nice, though not necessary. So if you’ve worked a part-time job, volunteered at a school, or interned for another company, that’s definitely something you’ll want to put on your resume.
- Willingness to admit mistakes and take responsibility. There is nothing less attractive than an intern who immediately goes on the defensive when something goes wrong. You’re an intern. Of course you’re going to make mistakes. It’s understandable. Just own up to them and we can make it a learning experience.
*Please note: I will absolutely, under no circumstances, ever judge an internship candidate based on their physical appearance outside of general neatness and cleanliness. I give zero shits about your tattoos, your piercings, your weight, your ethnicity, your hair color or style, your observable medical conditions, your height, your general attractiveness, whatever. None of that is an indication of the care you put into your work.
Thank you for your response! This is very helpful and reassuring to hear. I’ll be looking for publishing internships this fall and I’ve been driving myself crazy with the thought that I won’t be an impressive candidate unless A) I have experience working for at least five different college lit journals, or B) I manage to save my interviewer’s baby from a crocodile. I feel more confident in the experience I do have now.
I got my college’s radio station to play “Of Flesh and Blood” by Jenn Fiorentino on the air. Super happy.