I recently posted a blog detailing the rising popularity and benefits of virtual internships to encourage organizations to consider hiring virtual interns. If you are someone who finds the idea appealing but is unsure how to execute, this blog will provide tips for finding a virtual intern and conducting a virtual internship.
Q: How can I advertise my virtual internship?
A: Most colleges and universities have career center websites where any employer can post job listings. If you have a specific school in mind, check out their website. There are also plenty of large online database sites specifically for internship postings. You can try www.internmatch.com or www.internships.com.
Q: How do I conduct an interview?
A: If a potential intern lives in your geographic area, you can interview them in person. If not, Skype or telephone interviews work great.
Q: What options do I have to determine my intern’s work schedule?
A: There are several options. Before settling on one, make sure to communicate with your intern to determine which will work best for both of you. Regardless of what model you choose, be sure to ask your intern for both their class and exam schedules at the beginning of the semester. This way you will know when they are in class, and when they may have to cut back on work hours due to the exam rush.
Work as you please. Define a set number of hours to be worked per week. Have your intern keep a detailed log of their hours and have them submit it at the end of each week.
Determine a specific schedule. Work with your intern to set a weekly schedule so that they work the same days and hours each week. To be sure your intern is following their schedule, plan regular Skype meetings or telephone calls at the beginning and end of each shift.
Work only when needed. Contract your intern to work on a project by project basis.
Q: How can I make sure we stay on the same page?
A: Plan weekly telephone or Skype meetings to discuss current projects and to assign new ones. Be sure to give lots of feedback and to ask if they have any questions or concerns. Additionally you can ask your intern to send a daily email update detailing the work they complete each day.
At the end of the day, your organization will benefit most from designing a virtual internship program that fulfills your organization’s goals and needs. Be sure to remember this during the interview process. Always hire an intern that possesses a set of skills and a vision that aligns with your organization’s mission and is also compatible with your working style.