Top 5 Hints at Spotting a High Potential Intern

As a Campus Recruiter, I recruit for summer and spring undergraduate interns for our Los Angeles and New York City offices. Campus recruiting requires strategic partnerships with universities and student organizations that are aligned with our agency. It helps us create a pipeline of strong candidates we can consider for entry-level positions post-graduation. I meet so many ambitious and passionate students who want to obtain a competitive internship opportunity. It’s extremely rewarding to not only speak to students about our agency and internship opportunities, but to also provide personal advice and tips I’ve derived from my own career path, as I was once in their shoes. Whether it’s attending a career fair, speaking on a panel, or hosting and presenting at an information session, I am always delighted to share my knowledge and experience with students who also took time out of their day to attend the event. A core piece of my job is also bringing more awareness about our agency to these campuses, and students find it exciting when they can meet a representative face-to-face. I love that my job encompasses networking with students, career center professionals, professors, and leaders of student organizations. Additionally, I also correspond with our agency intern supervisors to better understand their department. It’s fun to develop new initiatives to continuously enhance our internship program. We also launched a dedicated internship Instagram account that provides a behind-the-scenes look at our program and agency culture.

As I am communicating with so many aspiring interns throughout the year, here are my Top 5 tips that help make an intern candidate stand out:

  • Displaying relevant experience or leadership roles: Since our agency’s focus is in the communications/marketing areas of entertainment and popular culture, I look for candidates who have a passion for this industry and can highlight their relevant experience. For example, some candidates have interned at PR firms in other industries, and they show how those skillsets are certainly transferrable to an internship at our agency. If they don’t have previous internships, it’s great to see if they have held leadership roles in on-campus organizations. Their achievements and experiences should be highlighted in a one-page resume, but more importantly, how they conduct themselves through a phone screen or an onsite interview can really determine if they would be the perfect fit for our internship program.
  • Attending career fairs or campus events: It’s great to see when students put in the extra effort and time to attend a career fair or information session. Several of our current spring interns were recruited from meeting them at career fairs. They left a memorable impression, whether it was their relevant experience, communication skills or enthusiasm for our agency. Additionally, they took the time to immediately send a follow-up email and continuously expressed their interest in our agency throughout the recruiting process.
  • Being proactive and seeking out the internship: Candidates who are fearless and send me personable yet concise cold emails that display why they are reaching out and how their interests and experiences align with the internship opportunity and our agency.
  • Receiving input from employees: Employees can also contribute beneficial feedback about students. Last year, we assisted in hosting a group of students in our NYC office from a university’s visit to multiple offices. One of our staff members, who spoke to the students, highly recommended one of them. It was helpful information when our staff member saw high potential in a student he just met! It was also a win-win situation when the student expressed interest in our internship program.
  • Coming prepared to interviews and doing the research: Candidates who come prepared to interviews and have done their research on our agency, whether that’s through something they noticed on social media or an article they came across about the agency or one of our executives.

Due to the high volume of applicants, I appreciate it when those who do not receive an offer respond with a thoughtful email that shows their gratitude for the potential opportunity, and a desire to be considered for future opportunities. It shows me that they still have a passion to work for our agency and can uphold a positive attitude despite not being selected this time around. I feel very fortunate to be able to meet so many curious and driven talent pursuing their dream internships. Getting a taste of the real world before graduation is a proactive step in the right direction that I'm happy to facilitate in any way I can as a Campus Recruiter.


Lillian Tsui, Campus Recruiter at PMK•BNC