It’s that time of year again when the promise of summer beckons and visions of ‘doing nothing’ dance in students’ heads. While the thought of taking the summer off is tempting, many students soon realize that boredom would prevail, especially if the bulk of their friends are working. Cue the summer internship.
These job opportunities present benefits for everyone involved. For students who want a leg up in a certain industry, a summer internship is a great first step and investment into their futures. There is valuable learning that takes place, and the opportunity to discover what kind of job they like (and dislike) is an important piece of career planning.
You, as an employer benefit, too. You get an infusion of new talent from those who are eager to learn everything about the business. In an ideal scenario, these interns fall in love with your company and the experience they’ve had while working with you. Keep in mind, these could be future employees. Never underestimate the power and potential of an intern, especially when you consider that leaders like Mary Barra, GM CEO, and Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing CEO, started their careers as interns at their respective companies!
So, what is it going to take?
Be Involved from the Beginning
Having an intern is great for the extra hands on deck, and if you are going to be working with him/her directly, it’s important to be involved from the get go. Take a look at the skill set from each candidate and look beyond the administrative tasks that need to be done. The class he/she took on digital media could be perfect for your client who wants to grow their social media presence. To make the most of your intern, look at where the candidate can add the most value and be an important member of your team.
Make Time for Your Interns
Once an intern is hired, it’s easy to pass off the grunt work and be relieved that there is an extra body on the team. But doing so leaves both you and your intern at a disadvantage. Not only are your interns missing out on a better learning experience, but they’re not getting a true feel for the company. By making time for your interns, you make them feel valued and provide them with a more holistic experience. By involving them more, you are also better able to gauge whether this person is someone you’d want to hire later down the line.
Make Sure They’re Busy
With the hustle and bustle of agency life, it can seem like an extra to do to create work for and explain tasks to an intern. But it’s important to maximize their time to avoid the dreaded “my internship is SO boring” mantra that is common among more neglected interns. Neither you nor your intern will benefit. Invest the time in them so they can invest the time back into the company.
Push Them Out of Their Comfort Zones
For many interns, the corporate environment is their first foray in the working world. And yes, it can be intimidating. If you have a management role, the intimidation factor is even higher. But remember, you were there once and it takes little effort to check in regularly, take them out to coffee and be a friendly face in the office. They aren’t there to blend into the background, so don’t let them! The more you encourage your intern, the better they can demonstrate employable skills and hopefully prove why they will become a future employee that you can’t wait to work with.