The ultimate intern:
a checklist

This week, Josephmark launches its thrice-yearly search for design and dev interns. With that in mind, Creative Director Alex Naghavi pulls together the qualities of JM’s dream intern.

Jun 22, 2015 · 4 min read

As a studio that’s always placed as much emphasis on raw talent as experience, it’s fair to say that Josephmark loves interns. Being a relatively compact company (say, compared to Google) we’re realistic about how much time we can dedicate to each and every person that comes to intern for us. That’s why we run six paid internships a year – three for design and three for development – because for us it’s about quality, not quantity.

JM has never been a cookie cutter studio – we’re an eclectic bunch who work together well, and a huge part of that is finding the right fit to begin with. We apply this focus to our interns as well – so without further ado, here’s what we look for when we’re hiring for our internship.

1. Raw potential

This is numero uno for us. It’s something we can see in your work and, even more importantly, it’s something we can see when we meet you. We know that interns are rarely very experienced, and we believe skills are something to be developed over time. Don’t get us wrong – you’ll still need a certain level of ability to get to the interview stage, and that’ll need to be evident in your portfolio. But it’s that initial spark – that something special – that tells us you’ve got what it takes.

2. Motivation and passion

This point isn’t just related to your career – we want to know what makes you tick, and what drives you. We love to see evidence of side projects in portfolios, as it shows a real commitment and drive. If we can feel your enthusiasm for the things you love, as well as a willingness to learn new skills, we’ll be more confident knowing you’ll give us 110%.

“But it’s that initial spark – that something special – that tells us you’ve got what it takes.”

3. Intelligence

By intelligence, we don’t mean you have to be traditionally smart – we want you to be emotionally and creatively intelligent. You need to inherently understand people, and creatively solve any problem you put your mind to. You should be able to look at things in several different ways, and empathise with the views of others.

4. A digital focus

This point is quite specific to JM. Being a digital ventures practice, our work predominantly focuses on digital product design and branding. That’s why you need digital design skills (UX or UI) to intern at JM, and Photoshop should be your BFF.

5. Communicative and collaborative

Being able to communicate and articulate a rationale is an important skill to have. Not everyone is a naturally gifted speaker, but it’s important to have the confidence to voice your opinion. A big part of being a good collaborator is being a good communicator.

“Even if the direction is wrong, it doesn’t matter – you tried, and that’s infinitely better than doing nothing.”

6. Initiative

This is definitely something that comes with experience. More often than not, interns feel quite reserved whilst working, and thus waste time mulling over decisions. Showing initiative means you know how to work efficiently and make calculated assumptions on how to progress – and that’s crucial in a fast-paced environment. We’re looking for someone who can quickly focus and go beyond what’s expected. Even if the direction is wrong, it doesn’t matter – you tried, and that’s infinitely better than doing nothing.

7. Personality

At JM we’ve fostered a culture that prioritises kindness, openness, and respect. If you’re to be part of that culture, it’s imperative to bring those same qualities. Other than that, however, pretty much anything goes, and we welcome individuality, unique opinions and healthy debate.

Finally, if you do get the internship, try to remember the following:

  • Give it your all and try to impress the pants off everyone
  • Use this time to really figure out what type of work you like best
  • Set mini deadlines for yourself, and see how your speed improves over time
  • Lose your inhibitions – show us your work regularly, and don’t waste time figuring out a problem that can be easily solved with a quick question
  • Spend time with your colleagues and get to know them, i.e., have a beer with us on Friday afternoons or join our Book Club
  • Be realistic – unfortunately, internships don’t always mean a job. It’s always a good idea to keep in contact, however, because you never know what might happen in the future.

If you’re a designer or developer wanting to intern at JM, then you’re in luck – we’re currently looking for one of each to join us for four weeks. Head here for more details.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store