Does your organization have an intern program, and if so, are you utilizing interns to the best of their ability? If not, maybe it’s time you thought about implementing a program or improving the one you currently have. Interns often get stuck with the “work” no one else wants to do – picking up the coffee, removing the paperclips from a stack of paper, data entry, etc. – but that’s what interns are for, right? Wrong! When given the opportunity to shine, interns can bring a lot to the table.
Below are some tips to help ensure that you, your intern, and your organization are making the most out of the relationship.
Hire the right person. It’s a misconception to think that anyone who is looking for a summer job will be the right fit at your organization. Although this position is only temporary, you should still invest some time throughout the hiring process to make sure the candidate is the right fit.
Assign meaningful projects. Plan for your intern to take the lead on at least one big project that will be ongoing throughout the length of the internship, in addition to the smaller, short-term projects. That ‘bear’ of a project that you just can’t seem to make time for could be the perfect intern project. Overhauling a database and transferring/storing hard copies of documents into electronic copies are two such examples.
Be open to feedback. Are you stuck in the ‘but that’s how we’ve always done it’ mode? You’re right – interns haven’t been doing this as long as you have, but this can work to your advantage. A new set of eyes and ears should provide a breath of fresh air to your organization. Young people are eager and full of new ideas, especially regarding social media…don’t be scared to listen to them!
Empower your intern. It’s not only about you and your organization. Make sure that your intern has a positive experience and enjoys the internship. Provide him or her with learning opportunities and introduce him or her to others in the organization.
Work together to ensure that your internship program is a win-win for all!