Life itself is only a vision – a dream…RSS
An internship can be a mutually beneficial relationship for both the intern and the business. The intern has the opportunity to gain some real-world experience, and the business gets to recruit some extra talent to help the company. Like any teaching role, taking on an intern is a big responsibility, so make an informed decision before making that kind of commitment.
The Right Person(s) for the Job
Like I said, taking on an intern is a big responsibility. Not only do you have to find the right intern who fits into your business, you also have to find the right person on staff to help guide them through the experience. If you’re not able to manage the intern directly, select an experienced member of your staff who is knowledgeable about the company and willing to take on a mentoring role.
There are websites on which you can advertise internship opportunities, but it is usually best to coordinate with local colleges directly. Many schools give classroom credits to students who take on internships and have services to inform students about internship openings.
When selecting an intern, go about it in the same fashion you would for hiring any employee. Ask them to submit a resume and request an interview with any students who seem promising. This gives them a chance to see how the hiring process works and you the chance to see who will work out best for your business.
The pros of taking on an intern are pretty clear. You get to borrow the skills of a young professional who will work for a fraction of what you would pay to someone full-time to do. (If the internship is unpaid, make sure that you are following the laws regarding unpaid labor outlined by the Labor Department.) This may be what it is, but that is really kind of a detrimental way to look at the situation. Like anything else, attitude can make all the difference in the world.
Being of a different generation, they can bring a different perspective to the table. Since they are still learning, they’re probably more up to date on the latest trends and technology, which offers you the opportunity to gain some valuable insight into the future of the market.
On the flip side, the intern has the opportunity to put their newly learned skills to use. You role is to guide them along the path to learning how to apply the skills in a real-world environment. From the perspective of the intern, the experience is more than just real-world experience; it is a gateway into the industry. If the intern shows real promise, you may consider keeping them on part-time or hiring them full-time once they graduate.
The Path to Learning
The main goal of an internship is providing the intern with an accurate and fulfilling work experience. Let them try their hand at all aspects of the business in which they show an interest. A variety of experiences will give them the chance to narrow down what type of career path they would like to pursue in the future. If at all possible, try to arrange for the intern to take part in a project from start to finish.
Above all else, get the intern off the sidelines and into the game. They will learn a lot more from doing than they will from watching. Remain up to date on what they’re doing and let them know they can come to you with any causes or concerns. Conversely, if there is a problem, let the intern know about it. You want to approach them in a way that will not damage their enthusiasm, but at the same time you don’t want them to pick up any bad habits.