Survey: ‘Entitlement’ is the top complaint about intern performance

If you’re a college student or recent grad, you’re probably interning somewhere if you don’t have a full-time job this summer. That’s why it’s important to act professionally at work — in fact, recent data from global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry shows that 37% of working people think “entitlement” is the top “intern performance dealbreaker.” So, acting out just won’t cut it.

The ins and outs of internships

Here are the worst things you can do during an internship, or “performance deal breakers.”

  • “Showing up late/leaving early:” 13%
  • “Not understanding the company:” 19%
  • “Bad cultural fit:” 31%
  • “Entitlement:” 37%

While 48% of those surveyed say that having an internship is “very important” if you want to get a job, 50% say it’s “somewhat important” and 2% said it’s “not important.”

But the most important thing that people seek out in interns is “passion” at 65%. Next up is “performance” at 21%, then the “school they attended” at 7%, then “grades” at 4% and “pedigree” at 3%.

Ally Van Deuren, Korn Ferry University Relations Center of Excellence Lead for North America, commented on the research in a statement showing that your educational background isn’t everything: “Coming from a highly regarded school or having a strong pedigree will only get intern candidates so far. … What really matters is attitude and their willingness to work, learn and grow.”

What interns should be striving for

Here’s what they should be doing.

  • “Building their network on the job:” 5%
  • “Being indispensable:” 9%
  • “Demonstrating passion:” 19%
  • “Learning:” 67%

Here’s how people find their best interns:

  • “By them proactively contacting you:” 20%
  • “By them submitting their resumes online:” 20%
  • “Campus job fairs:” 25%
  • “Through a connection:” 35%

The research also found that 79% surveyed said their companies would be “highly likely” to employ people who did a good job during their internship there and 20% said it’s “somewhat likely.” Just 1% said it was “unlikely.”

But while 62% of those surveyed said they got a full-time position from an internship, 38% said they had not. But internships aren’t the only way to get there: the good news is that 80% agreed that they would employ “a college grad if he or she hadn’t had a previous internship,” while just 20% wouldn’t.