Internship programs can be beneficial to both your company and to the interns you hire: Your business receives the services of the intern at a low rate while also gaining some different perspective from someone “outside” of the organization, and the intern gains much-needed experience and something to add to their resume. However, internships are only as effective as the effort you put into them. Make sure you are prepared for your next internship program with these helpful tips.
1. Be clear about your expectations.
This starts with your immediate team. Together, figure out what you need or want your interns to do.
- Is there a specific project you want your interns to participate in?
- What are your timelines for your program?
- Have you set specific goals for your interns?
- Before they start, do they have everything they need to get their projects done?
All of these questions should be asked and answered before you even start your interview process to ensure you match your intern candidates to the job description.
2. Make sure your interns are a good fit.
The point of an internship program is for the hiring company to have extra support for a specified time but also that the intern learns something from their time in the program. You may find an intern or two who just blows you away. They definitely meet the requirements necessary for you to get your project(s) done while they’re in the office. But make sure you can provide opportunities for learning and growth for that particular rock star. You don’t want them to be bored!
3. Have a solid onboarding process.
Internship timelines can run from just a few weeks to a few months (and sometimes longer), so, chances are, your company’s intern onboarding process won’t be as rigorous as the onboarding process for full-time, permanent positions.
However, you need to ensure your intern onboarding process is clear and transparent and provides the interns with everything they need to be successful. Here are some questions to answer:
- Have you communicated all of the information you gathered while deciding your expectations (see step one).
- Do your interns know what is expected of them?
- Who will interns go to if they have questions or need additional resources?
- Are there any company policies that may not affect their output but will still apply to their time in the office—dress codes, mandatory office hours, etc.?
Make sure all of this information is presented quickly after the interns are hired.
4. Meet regularly.
It’s easy to get into a routine with your team. They know what’s expected of them; you know what they’re working on. Sometimes it’s easy to go for a while without checking in. Even the best interns will need more interaction than this. Regular meetings will allow you to check in, answer questions, measure progress, and provide feedback.
Key To A Successful Internship Program
There’s no magic formula that will give you (and your intern) a great, positive experience working together. However, by working beforehand to prepare for the intern’s arrival and then being proactive with any issues that may come up while they’re working for you, you may find that you have a potential long-term employee on your hands.