Need to provide feedback for an intern that’s worked in your business? Understandably, interns are looking for some type of written feedback or a recommendation they can use to secure full-time employment and demonstrate some type of real-world experience.

But judging writing a performance review for an intern can be a little bit tricky. First, the expectations are lower for an intern than a highly compensated employee with experience. And if the internship is uncompensated, the bar is usually set even lower in terms of expectations.  You can only expect so much so much output from a person that isn’t being paid.

With these considerations in mind, I’ve compiled sample performance reviews for interns that you can use. I’ve provided feedback for interns that have gone above and beyond the call of duty and those who didn’t meet expectations as well. Naturally, I’ve written these in a professional way so that you can tweak and edit to your needs.

Excellent Performance Reviews for Interns

45+ (Excellent - Poor) Performance Reviews for Interns.

Performance Reviews for Interns.

[Intern’s Name] has been an outstanding intern at [Business Name], demonstrating exceptional adaptability and eagerness to learn. They quickly mastered various aspects of the business, from operations to marketing, cooking, and customer service.

In operations, [Intern’s Name] improved efficiency through their organizational skills. Their marketing contributions significantly enhanced our online presence and customer engagement. In the kitchen, they not only learned our menu quickly but also introduced a popular dish. Their customer service was exemplary, often receiving high praise from customers.

[Intern’s Name] was a true team player, respected for their positive attitude and work ethic. Their overall contribution has been invaluable, leaving a lasting impact on our food truck.

We highly recommend [Intern’s Name] for any future roles and are confident in their continued success.

Reviewed by: [Supervisor’s Name] Date: [Date of Review]

Comments on Outstanding Initiative and Efficiency

During their internship, [Intern’s Name] demonstrated exceptional initiative and efficiency, particularly in managing email requests. They consistently responded to emails promptly and professionally, ensuring clear communication and timely resolution of inquiries. Their ability to troubleshoot copier challenges was impressive, often resolving issues before they impacted office workflow.

Additionally, [Intern’s Name] handled requests from upper-level managers with poise and competence, showcasing their potential for future leadership roles. Their proactive approach and problem-solving skills were invaluable to our team.

Feedback on Organizational Skills 

[Intern’s Name] has been an exemplary intern, showcasing exceptional organizational skills and professionalism. They adeptly managed a high volume of email requests, categorizing and prioritizing them to ensure efficient workflow.

When faced with copier challenges, [Intern’s Name] displayed remarkable patience and technical aptitude, often finding creative solutions. Their ability to handle requests from upper-level managers with confidence and diligence was particularly commendable. [Intern’s Name]’s contributions have been a significant asset to our office environment.

Related Reading: 51+ (Good & Bad) Job Performance Review Samples 

Adaptability and Strong Work Ethic

Interns who embrace change and adapt quickly are the ones who thrive.

Embrace change and thrive.

[Intern’s Name] has proven to be an outstanding intern, demonstrating a strong work ethic and adaptability. They efficiently handled a diverse range of email requests, ensuring that all communications were addressed in a timely and effective manner.

Despite being new to the office environment, [Intern’s Name] quickly learned to navigate and troubleshoot copier issues, minimizing downtime. Their ability to take on requests from upper-level managers and deliver results beyond expectations speaks volumes about their potential. [Intern’s Name]’s positive attitude and willingness to learn have made them a valued member of our team.

Feedback on Culinary Skills

[Intern’s Name] has been an outstanding addition to our kitchen team. They displayed remarkable poise and professionalism when handling angry customer orders, always finding a way to turn a negative situation into a positive experience.

Their dishwashing skills were efficient, contributing significantly to the smooth operation of our kitchen. [Intern’s Name] also showed impressive culinary talent, especially in cooking pizzas to perfection. Their thorough cleanup of the kitchen ensured a hygienic and orderly work environment. Moreover, their ability to get along well with others fostered a positive and collaborative atmosphere in the kitchen.

Feedback on Team Spirit 

During their internship, [Intern’s Name] demonstrated exceptional adaptability and team spirit in our fast-paced kitchen environment. They handled challenging customer orders with grace and empathy, often de-escalating situations and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Their diligence in washing dishes and maintaining cleanliness standards was commendable. [Intern’s Name]’s skill in cooking pizzas was a delight, consistently delivering delicious results. Their thorough approach to kitchen cleanup and their camaraderie with fellow kitchen staff contributed greatly to our team’s success.

Feedback on Strong Work Ethic

[Intern’s Name] has proven to be a valuable asset to our restaurant. They exhibited a strong work ethic and a passion for the culinary arts by staying after hours on more than one occasion. When faced with angry customer orders, [Intern’s Name] responded with understanding and professionalism, often turning dissatisfied customers into repeat guests.

[Intern’s Name]’s talent in cooking pizzas was evident, always ensuring high-quality and tasty dishes. Their commitment to thorough kitchen cleanup and their ability to get along well with the team have made them a highly respected intern in our establishment

Average Performance Reviews for Interns

Performance reviews help interns turn potential into excellence.

Performance reviews help interns turn potential into excellence.

Most interns will provide satisfactory work. They show up on time, complete a couple tasks, but don’t go above and beyond. Here’s some performance review feedback for average interns.

[Intern’s Name], you have consistently met the basic requirements of your assigned tasks. Your work has been reliable, though there is room for improvement in terms of detail and creativity. We encourage you to take more initiative in seeking ways to enhance the quality of your output.

You have shown an ability to adapt to new tasks. However, we believe you have the potential to grasp new concepts more quickly. We encourage you to ask questions and seek feedback more actively to accelerate your learning process.

Your communication has been clear and you follow instructions well. Going forward, we would like to see you engage more in team discussions and express your ideas with more confidence.

While you have been consistent in completing assigned tasks, taking more initiative in problem-solving and proposing new ideas would be beneficial. We encourage you to be more proactive in identifying and addressing challenges.

You have been a cooperative member of the team. We would like to see you take a more active role in team projects and contribute your ideas more freely.

[Intern’s Name], your overall contribution to the team has been solid. With increased enthusiasm and a more proactive approach, you have the potential to make a more significant impact. We encourage you to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone to achieve this.”

Common Areas for Development of Average Interns: 

  • Taking initiative and being more proactive
  • Enhancing the quality and creativity of work
  • Engaging more actively in team discussions and projects
  • Accelerating the learning process through active feedback seeking

Closing Remarks:

[Intern’s Name], we appreciate the effort you have put in during your internship. We believe that with a bit more drive and engagement, you can elevate your performance. We are here to support you in this journey and look forward to seeing your continued growth.

Needs Improvement Performance Reviews for Interns

An internship is not just a phase; it's a stepping stone to your future.

It’s a stepping stone to your future.

Some interns may not meet your expectations. Here are some examples of constructive criticism written in a professional way that clearly demonstrates there’s room for improvement.

[Intern’s Name], we have noticed several instances where the quality of your work did not meet the expected standards. For example, the project report submitted on [specific date] lacked the necessary detail and accuracy. It’s important to pay closer attention to the requirements and ensure thoroughness in your work.

Adapting to new tasks and environments has been a challenge. During the [specific task or project], it was observed that instructions had to be repeated multiple times. We encourage you to take notes and ask clarifying questions to better understand and adapt to new tasks.

Your communication has been inconsistent. There have been instances, such as during the [specific meeting or event], where you were not clear in expressing your ideas, leading to misunderstandings. Effective communication is key, and we encourage you to work on articulating your thoughts more clearly by email or telephone.

We have noticed a lack of initiative in addressing challenges. For instance, during the [specific situation], when faced with a problem, there was a delay in seeking help or attempting to find a solution. Being proactive in problem-solving is crucial, and we encourage you to take more ownership of the challenges you encounter.

Your contribution to team projects has been below expectations. During the [specific project], your participation was minimal, and the team had to cover additional tasks. Collaborating effectively with the team is important, and we encourage you to be more engaged and contribute actively.

Interns are the canvas, and each task is a stroke of experience.

There have been concerns regarding punctuality and adherence to deadlines. For example, you were late for several important meetings, and the [specific task] was submitted past the deadline. It’s important to be punctual and respect timelines to maintain professionalism.

Overall Feedback:

[Intern’s Name], while we appreciate your efforts, your overall contribution has not met the expectations set for this internship. We believe in your potential and encourage you to take this feedback as an opportunity for growth. Focusing on these areas will help you improve your performance.

Areas for Development:

  • Enhancing work quality and attention to detail
  • Improving adaptability and understanding of tasks
  • Developing clear and effective communication skills
  • Taking initiative and being proactive in problem-solving
  • Actively participating and contributing to team projects
  • Maintaining professionalism through punctuality and meeting deadlines

Intern Checklist: How can you evaluate the job performance? 

intern performance checklist

Intern performance checklist.

Using a checklist like the one designed to provide an example of a clear and comprehensive framework for evaluating the performance of an intern in a small business. This document outlines specific areas of assessment to ensure that the intern understands what is being measured and how their performance is evaluated. You can edit, remove and add items based on your business and the specific goals of an intern. I’ve also attached an intern PDF checklist example you can print and use in your business.

Work Quality:

Accuracy and attention to detail in tasks
Completeness and thoroughness of work
Adherence to instructions and guidelines
Quality of final deliverables or outcomes

Productivity and Efficiency:

Ability to meet deadlines
Consistency in task completion
Time management skills
Efficiency in completing assigned tasks

Learning and Adaptability:

Willingness to learn new skills and concepts
Ability to adapt to new tasks and environments
Application of feedback to improve performance
Quickness in understanding and implementing new information

Communication Skills:

Clarity and effectiveness in verbal communication
Professionalism and clarity in written communication
Responsiveness to emails, calls, or messages
Ability to articulate ideas and ask relevant questions

Initiative and Problem-Solving:

Proactiveness in taking on new tasks or challenges
Creativity and resourcefulness in problem-solving
Willingness to contribute ideas and suggestions
Ability to work independently when required

Teamwork and Collaboration:

Ability to work effectively with team members
Contribution to team discussions and projects
Flexibility and cooperation in group settings
Respect for diverse opinions and collaboration styles

Professionalism and Conduct:

Punctuality and reliability
Adherence to workplace dress code and norms
Respectful and professional behavior
Handling of confidential or sensitive information (if applicable)

Overall Contribution:

Impact and value added to the team or project
Alignment with the goals and objectives of the internship
Willingness to go above and beyond basic requirements
Overall fit within the company culture

Areas for Improvement:

Specific areas where the intern can improve
Suggestions for skills or knowledge development
Opportunities for further training or mentorship

Overall Performance Rating:

Exceeds Expectations
Meets Expectations
Needs Improvement

Additional Comments:

Space for additional feedback or comments on the intern’s performance

Intern’s Self-Evaluation:

Encourage the intern to provide their self-evaluation and reflections

How tough should you be on a performance review for an intern? 

The internship journey is your story to tell, your legacy to create.

The internship journey is your story to tell, your legacy to create.

Navigating the world of internships can be a tightrope walk for small businesses, especially in industries like hospitality and food services. Evaluating the performance of interns, particularly those who are unpaid, requires a nuanced approach that balances educational focus with realistic expectations.

Take, for instance, the renowned culinary internship program at The French Laundry in California. This program emphasizes not just the skills in the kitchen but also the overall professional development of its interns. The evaluation process here is not just about how perfectly a dish is prepared but how the intern has grown in terms of culinary knowledge, teamwork, and handling pressure.

Related Reading: 52+ Performance Review Phrases about Creativity 

Similarly, Starbucks has been known for its internship programs that offer a blend of learning and practical experience. Evaluating interns at Starbucks goes beyond just making the perfect cup of coffee; it’s about understanding customer service, the business model, and the brand’s ethos.

When evaluating interns, small businesses like these focus on constructive feedback. It’s about guiding the interns, not just grading them. For instance, a small food truck business might evaluate an intern based on their adaptability in a fast-paced environment and their willingness to learn, rather than just their initial proficiency in food preparation.

Setting realistic expectations is key. Interns are there to learn and grow. A small bakery might not expect an intern to bake the perfect sourdough loaf on the first try, but they would value an intern’s eagerness to learn and improve.

Encouragement and motivation are crucial, especially for unpaid interns. Recognizing their efforts can be a significant morale booster. Back when I was interning at a radio station, I never got compensated. But, I was able to score some free CD’s and some gift cards for free food at local restaurants. This might be a small gesture, but it really made a broke college student like me feel better about the arrangement.

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