Summer is around the corner — which means that summer internships will be starting.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about inept interns, but it’s time to face facts. If your interns aren’t performing up to your standards, it might be your own fault. You may have hired the wrong person, or thrown them into the fire without establishing clear goals and objectives.
Mark Babbitt, the CEO and founder of internship site Youtern, has a few tips for employers when it comes to ensuring that your interns will add something to your company.
His strategy just requires you to ask yourself six questions, before the interns even arrive.
“Once you have the answers to these questions, an intern learning plan is relatively easy to develop, maintain, and measure,” Babbitt says.
1. What do I need my intern to learn in the first week to be successful going forward?
You’ve got to make sure you cover the basics. You can’t expect your intern to pick up on all the industry jargon, company procedures, and office nuances right off the bat.
2. What projects would I like my intern to take on during the first week?
“In other words, what difference do you want them to make right away?” Babbitt says.
3. What does the intern want to learn during the first week?
Try to ensure that some of your objectives align with the intern’s interests and passions. Babbitt says that you should strive to make the intern feel “successful and like they are already part of the team.”
4. Over the course of the internship, what does the intern need to know to make this a successful step in their career?
Here’s a hint: Your intern can’t put “excellent at coffee runs” on their résumé. While some menial tasks are to be expected in most internships, try to make sure you’re not just putting drudge work on their plate.
5. What skills, soft or technical, do they want to develop during the internship?
You should also identify the person within your organisation who can help the intern hone those skills, says Babbitt. You might consider which skills have been most helpful to your own career, or to past interns — or, ask them before they show up for work that first day.
6. What influencers or mentors does your intern want to meet during this internship?
Babbitt says to consider mentors both within your organisation, such as executives, founders and colleagues, or outside your company, like vendors, customers, and industry gurus.
Take care of your interns, and you’ll be setting the stage for your mutual success.
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