- Identify shorter term and longer term benefits of having an intern for the organisation - profile raising, fresh pair of eyes, resource for a project, feeder for graduate recruitment.
- As part of the recruitment process consider other activities for assessing a students’ ability e.g. a presentation or tasks relevant to the role.
- Be realistic that students may take longer to train up and grow their confidence before they reach their full potential.
“Be prepared to give required time and energy to recruitment and managing intern. Although you will benefit from a number of projects being completed it does take some forward planning and you are required to give support. The time cost however is greatly outweighed by the benefits” - Line Manager, Warwick Undergraduate Internships Programme, 2016
Get off to a good start
- Make sure your project is well defined and can be managed in the time available.
- Set aside time to work with the student and bear in mind things can take longer than you think.
- Have a list of discreet tasks, which an intern could choose to action as and when able. This ensures that the intern has something to do even when they are waiting for other information to come through and also gives them a chance to practice juggling long and short term commitments.
- Project match - It is important to make sure that they are given something that they can feel proud to have completed at the end and can look back and feel like they have not only achieved something but also challenged themselves and developed new skills.
- Give the intern a plan which includes; their induction, training, meetings, project tasks and deadlines so that they can responsibility for managing their time.
During their experience
- Students will have lots of ideas and enthusiasm so as not to squash these share - what could be implemented as a quick win, what requires resource and time, but could be implemented when resource is available, acknowledge great ideas for the future
- Have regular catch-ups, even if they're only a few minutes every couple of days
- Make sure you have the time to develop, nurture and mentor a student.
- You cannot just expect the Intern to be left alone for long periods of time without direction, support or things to do.
- Bring the intern into team meetings and discussions to enable them to contribute more widely and get to know other team members
- If you are going to be unable to support, consider who the intern can go to in their absence (good development opportunity for another member of staff).
- Manage according to their personality and treat as an employee
- Understand your interns strengths and areas for development. Can either play to these strengths or support their development
- Be clear about expectations (e.g. around working hours, business communicaton, project, taking initiative, behaviours and encourage your intern to share what they are struggling with
- Don't be afraid of giving direction at first, can adapt, if not sure start with this
- Give the intern as many different experiences as possible and as much responsibility is realistic
What happens next?
- what can you realistically do and share at the end of their experience - support LinkedIn skills, help with CV entry, provide further networks
- Consider further ways of working with the student
- Think about how you can keep in touch - sponsorship, mentoring