Tips For Hiring and Managing Interns
April 10th, 2017
Think interns are a free workplace bonus? Think again.
Interns can be a very valuable resource to your workplace, though it is key to both hire, and then manage them accordingly. Unlike your paid employees, their experience has to be rich, meaningful and learning-focused in order for their work to exceed expectations and act as added value to your business.
Never considered an intern? If your start up is seeking some assistance, contact local universities and colleges (some high schools are often offering this as well). Contact the department relevant to your needs (i.e. publishers may want to contact Art for graphic design interns, and Journalism for newsroom interns).
Hire an intern much like your other employees got hired- request a cover letter and a resume and conduct interviews. Remember for many, this could be their first real-world work environment and be aware of cutting corners in your conversations, if they came prepared, they will be ready for whatever you throw their way.
One major difference here is that an intern comes with an expiration date. Make sure that the time commitment fits your needs and don’t set them up for failure by assigning a short-term intern to a long-term project.
The intern usually receives academic credit in lieu of the typical classroom experience, and usually is required to provide weekly reports and check in’s. As the employer, help facilitate this communication by arranging for a weekly meeting to check in with your intern, helping them outline their duties/accomplishments for the week.
As far as duties and responsibilities, we are a far cry from the days that interns made coffee and manned the copy machine. This is not the kind of learning that is akin to a classroom experience.
Both yourself and the intern will benefit the most if they are assigned tasks with meaning and purpose, and that relate to the business as a whole. It is your responsibility as the leader to ensure that they receive the support and nurturing they may need.
With interns, you must posses a certain amount of patience that you might not with other (well-qualified) employees. This may mean occasionally give them a break, they are learning.
Being prepared for an intern means you have thought out a project, their responsibilities and a timeline. Refrain from hiring an intern “just because you can”. As it is a learning experience, you may be taking on more responsibility than you realize.