Internships are valuable experiences, not only for the interns, but for the employer as well. A few of the benefits employers stand to gain when taking on an intern include a new perspective, an extra set of hands to help achieve goals, and a way to trial or shape a potential future employee. Here are four ways you can get the most out of your intern.
Determine the “Why?”
Before hiring an intern, it is important to determine what you, the employer, are hoping to gain from the experience as well as what the intern is hoping to gain. Figure out exactly why you are hiring an intern, what tasks you require their help with, what experiences you can offer them, and why they should choose to work with you. This will help you hire the right person for the job at hand. Keep in mind who you are looking for throughout the hiring process, looking beyond solely academic credentials and work experience, and focusing more on hiring who is willing to learn, is interested in the work, and has a great attitude.
Give your intern detailed instructions
One of the most important things you can do for your intern is to prepare for them to start. Determine exactly where you require help and be specific. This will ensure the intern is not left with an insufficient workload during their internship. Preparing assignments in advance also allows you to determine the number of interns required and what types of traits and skills are needed to complete these tasks. Once hired, provide your intern with all the information necessary to understand the work at hand, as to not leave the intern wondering where to start. It is best to speak clearly and assume no prior knowledge unless told otherwise.
Check in and provide regular feedback
It is easy to give your intern these specific instructions and then leave them to complete the work alone. However, this can result in mistakes, confusion, and ultimately the need to re-do the work that may not be sufficiently completed. Instead, make time for your intern. Schedule frequent check-ins to ensure he or she is understanding the tasks and is on track to completion. This provides a learning opportunity for the intern, as it creates an open communication to ask one another questions throughout the process. Creating open communication with interns is critical to strengthen relationships, increase morale, and provide a positive experience for everyone.
Allow your intern to own something
If applicable, give your intern something they can own. Whether it is an account to take charge of, a project to help lead, or a task to see through to the end, giving an intern responsibility is an excellent learning opportunity. It is likely that this is the intern’s first real work experience, so make it count! Not only will this help lighten your workload, but it will provide a great addition to the intern’s resume. Afterall, an internship is meant to provide value to both the employer and the intern.
Bringing on an intern takes careful planning and hard work, but it pays off! Doing it the right way can help you achieve your goals, gain a new perspective, and help to shape a future professional in the field. And remember—you are providing a young person with valuable work experience, setting the tone for their future career.