More companies are requiring internship experience before hiring full time, and with good reason. Internship programs benefit both the company and the intern: companies can save money in training and recruitment, while interns gain valuable work experience.
Creating a strong internship program requires careful planning to ensure your resources are put to good use, and that the intern’s time is used efficiently. Now is the best time to look at your company’s goals and processes, and how an intern may be able to help.
In this post, we provide a few tips on setting up an great internship program.
Develop A Selective Recruitment Process
When it comes to recruiting interns, the first thing to realize is that there is no rush to recruit, particularly if you plan and execute well in advance. As an organization, get involved on campus, take part in leadership seminars where possible, and allow the students to get to know your company and vice-versa. Think about the various students and consider how they would fit into the fabric of your organization. Will they cause problems? Bring enthusiasm? Be reliable?
By spending time with the students over a few months and at different events, it is possible to get a much more in-depth understanding of the type of person they are. This enables you as the business owner to make a much more educated and informed decision than in a standard 45-minute interview. Relationships are always pivotal to the success of a business, so by investing time into those relationships, you will drastically increase the chances of employing the right intern and potentially hiring them full-time.
Set Rules And Expectations
Once you have selected your interns, set the brand expectations from day one, leaving no room for confusion. Expectations can include basic standards such as timekeeping, dress code, and behavior standards, but it can also involve more nuanced standards, such as quality of work and business etiquette.
Consider some form of mentor system where they are partnered up with a full-time employee of a similar age. Put yourself in their shoes, there may be certain questions that they want to ask, but they may be nervous to ask their boss. By providing them with a trusted employee of a similar age, they will feel more welcomed and reassured that they can rely on someone to show them the ropes.
Assign Exciting And Meaningful Work
If your recruitment process is set up correctly, then the interns you recruit should be of the highest caliber- intellectual, and enthusiastic. Challenge your interns and provide them with learning opportunities. There is no benefit gained by giving interns tedious and monotonous tasks to complete. They will quickly become bored and disengaged. Although it may force you to step outside of your own comfort zone, it is vital that you empower your interns. Involve them in your challenging and critical projects, set deadlines that matter, and make them feel like they are a valued member of the team. Not only will this make them feel valued, but you might be surprised by just how much they might bring to the table.
Invest In Training
If the intern is excellent, then your organization should be doing everything in its power to encourage the intern to commit to a long-term position. At the end of the internship, the intern should feel that they have gained valuable experience, leaving with more confidence in their working ability. By providing first-class training and demonstrating to the intern that your company is a place where they can learn, gain promotion, and achieve their goals, they are much more likely to want to join your company permanently. Alternatively, interns who are not provided with training, and who don’t feel valued, will get the impression that your organization is not the place to learn or develop, opting to seek employment elsewhere.
Provide Constructive and Consistent Feedback
Every employee will have strengths and weaknesses, and it is imperative that as an employer, you provide your interns with constructive feedback on a regular basis. Consider your feedback and deliver it in a structured yet meaningful way that instills the learning component of the internship. It is also important to praise an individual when they are performing well, to raise their confidence level, and to make them aware that their hard work and effort is being noticed.
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