5 Questions. 5 Minutes. 1 Employer. This week, meet David, the founder of RockStar Consulting.
1. What do you look for when you hire an intern?
RockStar Consulting is a professional development company that works directly with entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them develop the skill sets they use to run their businesses. We’re a smaller company, so the first thing I’m looking for is someone who actually wants to get engaged in the activities of the business. It’s not enough for someone to show up and get coffee - they have to be willing to take the initiative. The other attribute I look for is “coachability”. Too often students have a closed mind when it comes to learning new skills, which is unfortunate because they’re hopefully in an internship to learn! If an intern is motivated and willing, I can teach them the skills they need to be successful – not only while at RockStar but in future positions as well.
2. How did you get started in the industry? How can a student today get started?
I’ve always followed an entrepreneurial path, so after graduating I had my own sales company. I had the opportunity to interview and train thousands of individuals, so I learned those skills “in the trenches”. Right now there is an explosion of new businesses and so it was an easy transition into working with other professionals to help them develop their professional lives. When students ask about how to get started in the coaching and training field, I tell them the most important thing is to learn about every and any part of running a business. To be a relevant consultant/advisor, it’s important to be able to leverage a body of knowledge. So read books, go to seminars, talk to people – and most importantly,get experience in the workplace!
3. What is the future of your industry?
The professional development industry is booming. Because there is so much change going on in the structure of the economy, most professionals need to learn and incorporate new skills and tools. From large corporations to solopreneurs, people are searching for ways to be more effective. A very tangible example is the explosion in online tools and social media. There will always be a need for individuals who can train and develop others.
4. What is one main thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression? To make a negative impression?
The most important thing an intern can do is follow up. There are often many candidates competing for the same position, but not many who will take the time to follow up in a timely fashion, whether by email, snail mail, or phone. This also gives me insight into how they will perform if I choose to work with them. If a student does what they say will do, when they say they will do it – there’s a good chance that they’ll do a good job with their internship projects. If a student wants to make a negative impression on me, all they have to do is act unprofessionally – don’t follow up with calls or emails in a timely fashion, be late, have a sloppy resume. Most businesspeople don’t have time for that; I certainly don’t.
5. What is your favorite positive intern story? Your favorite intern horror story?
My favorite intern story has actually happened many times with many different interns. After working on a project for a few weeks, they look up and say to me, “Oh, now I get it. This isn’t what I learned in the textbooks, this is how things really work in the real world. That’s the point of an internship – to go back to school with a better idea of how the material they are learning fits into a larger picture.
And my horror story: I had an intern get sick and go back home for a month. He never called to let me know, and he didn’t return my messages because he hadn’t finished a project he was working on (which wasn’t a big deal – your health is more important that work). It goes back to being professional. And hey, I’m not your parent but I was a bit worried, let me know you’re not dead in a ditch!
Thanks David! Keep your eyes posted for internship opps from RockStar Consulting in the future!