Managing an Intern Program is one of the lowest risk ways to gain huge benefits for your business. In addition to bringing in an enthusiastic worker at a relatively low-cost, you’ll also be gaining valuable management experience that can help advance your own career. Interns provide a steady supply of fresh ideas, and a well-run program can also become your company’s talent pipeline for when you’re ready to invest in someone full time.
Connect with Schools
No matter what business you’re in, chances are that there are schools that specialize in the skills you need. One of the best ways to attract a fit for your company would be to call these schools and speak with their Internship Director or Career Office. These people will be thrilled to speak with you about your needs, as it’s their job to ensure that their students get placed in resume-building internships. In some cases, instead of having you sift through a mountain of resumes, an Internship Director can nominate a few students with the skills that especially meet your needs. You can then interview and take your pick of the brightest students available.
Training & Feedback
Once you’ve identified your candidate, you’ll need to invest some time in training. Interns come at a low cost and generally with a lot of enthusiasm, but they need more guidance and feedback than a full time employee. Consider developing a guide for your interns so that they can answer some of their own questions. But also make sure the intern has consistent access to someone for guidance and that the intern’s progress is regularly reviewed. Supplying regular, constructive feedback is the number one criteria of managing an intern and getting the most out of your investment.
Have a Final Project
One of the best ways to give structure to an internship—and to ensure that the student is not just doing busy work—is to have the intern complete a final project that contributes to your company in a big way. This project should be related to one of your business goals, but it should also be something that the intern has a voice in coming up with. Every week, your intern should be allowed to devote at least a couple of hours toward this project. At the end of the semester, you can then organize a final presentation with an audience so the intern has a chance to formally present their work.
Finally, as the internship draws to a close, be sure to celebrate the intern’s contributions in some way. Consider hosting a team lunch or arranging for a small gift. By training your interns and treating them with gratitude, you will build your company’s reputation as being an employer of choice in your field.
Want more information on developing and managing an internship program, or assistance finding the right intern? Contact us. We’re here to help. MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center 508-771-JOBS (5627)