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29 September 2015 |

One of the pieces of feedback that many rejected candidates receive after an internship is that their enthusiasm for the firm was lacking. It is easy to assume that if you are clever enough to do the work that the role will require you to do, then surely this should be enough. However, if you do not seem enthusiastic when spending only a few weeks (or months) at the firm, this could give the impression that 6 months or a year down the line, perhaps you will no longer care at all. This could in turn affect the quality of your work, impact negatively upon the teams you work in and adversely affect the culture of the firm. Firms will be less willing to hire someone who may potentially negatively impact the firm's culture. Firms generally perceive their culture as something that keeps employees motivated (and thus from a commercial standpoint, boosts productivity). It's not difficult to smile for a few weeks!

In addition (although this is merely an opinion and is not necessarily reflective of the way all firms operate), firms may be less willing to make offers if they do not believe candidates will accept. This is partially due to the fact that it will be harder to recruit the required number of people (e.g. schedule the right number of interviews or make the right number of offers) if the firm has no idea how many candidates are likely to accept their offers. A lack of enthusiasm may indicate a candidate will quit after only a short period at the firm, meaning that the money invested in training them throughout an internship and the early stages of their career will be wasted.

You can demonstrate enthusiasm simply by getting involved in as much as you can. Ask lots of carefully considered questions (to your supervisors, graduate recruitment, people you meet during socials and people that give you presentations). Asking questions can really help to demonstrate your genuine interest in the firm.

Attend as many social and networking events as possible (although of course do not let this affect the quality of your work if you are facing tight deadlines and avoid drinking too much alcohol!). Attendance at these events can demonstrate your interest in integrating into the firm, getting to know your potential future colleagues (including other interns and existing employees) and contributing to the firm"s culture. Repeatedly avoiding such events could indicate that you would perhaps rather be working elsewhere, or that you have little interest in familiarising yourself with the firm"s employees or its culture. This in turn may also reflect negatively upon your interest in networking (a skill that is essential to facilitate effective team working, especially when external parties are involved) and your motivation for working at that particular firm. However, if there are any cultural circumstances that impinge upon your ability to socialise to the same extent as others (for instance if, during Ramadan, you are due to open the fast at the same time that a social is taking place), then explain the situation to the graduate recruitment team.