How To Help An Intern

June 13, 2019
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With many recent college graduates and undergraduates looking for internships to build their resume and find employment after school, it’s important to know how to effectively use an intern for your company. Laying out a path to help them learn essential traits for their future career will not only benefit them but your organization as well.

Compensation is important

One of the hardest factors for anyone having done an internship is many times this experience is unpaid. More and more recent college graduates struggle to get the experience they need but lack of compensation makes this essential career step almost impossible. If possible make sure you company can contribute them something above minimum wage. Doing some research I found the suggested wage for an intern is $10.-$12. an hour. If that’s not in your organization’s budget, consider giving them some type of living stipend so they can live on something while working.

Use the same hiring process as you would employees

Treat each potential intern as you would a regular prospect that goes through the formal interview process. Not only does it ensure you will set the standard for your organization but the intern will receive great learning experience from it. They will feel prepared for future job interviews down the road. Make sure they are the best fit for your company or make sure your organization is the best fit for what they want to accomplish.

Do what’s best for their learning

It’s ok to have the intern do basic tasks like answer the phones and manage the front desk or other stereotypical roles like getting everyone coffee but make sure they also get challenging work to do. Do you have team members that need more help on a project or are about to move into a new role? Using the intern to help on a project or with a role transition benefits both them and you as the employer.

Include the intern at regular work functions

Invite the intern to your regular weekly huddles or include them in on a meeting about a project so they can be informed about what is going on and their role. Even if they aren’t directly involved, it’s still good to have them involved so they better understand and if they do become involved with the project it will be a smoother transition. Also inviting them to work functions or social events can really build a sense of community and make them feel even more so apart of the team.

Develop plans and goals

What are the plans you have when bringing in an intern? What are their goals and what do they hope to learn throughout the duration of their internship? Sit down with them at the time of the job offer and plan out what it is you want them to learn or help with during their time with the company. Also make sure you help them define what their goal is during the internship. What experience do they want relating to their degree that will help them find a job after the internship?

Hire/ Recruit

Think of each intern as a potential future hire. Even if you have no full time openings at the time of their hire, you never know what could change after a couple of months. Members of your team could move up into new positions or maybe they are leaving the company altogether. If the internship was a successful one and they have proved themselves valuable, it’s a great option to consider them for full time employment instead of bringing on a completely new hire. Interns are also a great way to recruit other candidates for full time employment or future apprenticeships.