Rudeness: A Quick Way to Ruin an Internship

When interns get their shot at the big leagues, a dose of humility and kindness is in order.


When I talked about internship trials and tribulations with hiring expert Brad Karsh last week, we touched on one issue that I didn't have space to include in the story but really is an important topic.

I told Karsh that I had recently spoken with someone who holds a small but important position in her office—she keeps things, like the coffee machine, running. The woman, who is quite friendly, says she dreads the start of internship season. The reason: She believes the newly desked and penciled corporate contenders treat her with little to none of the respect she deserves.

Here's what Karsh has to say about it:

As an intern, you need to think of your internship as a 10-week interview.... Everything you do is being evaluated. It's not like they're taking notes everyday and saying: "Ah, you wore that blue shirt on Tuesday, not so sure about that." But if someone like this woman you've described went to a manager and said, "I really hate Jim—he was totally rude to me," you might think twice about hiring this person.

You may have heard this about interviews, that candidates have lost jobs because they were rude to a waiter at a business lunch or they were rude to the receptionist when they checked in.

Think about that concept within the context of a 10-week interview. Because that's sort of how you're being judged and those people will comment, whether it's an interview or not.... Realize that you work with everybody, not just your boss, or those clients or coworkers that you have. Everyone in that company is your coworker.


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