As a manager, I have made it a point to hire interns One reason is that the internships that I held helped me land a full-time job, and I want to be able to help communications students. The other reason isn’t so altruistic. Frankly, I just need help in the office.
Interns require care and feeding. You can’t just turn them loose and expect them to perform. It’s not fair to them and you won’t get what you need.
So how should you get started and how do you manage interns?
1) Hire them just as you would any other position. My interns submit a resume and then I select the top candidates to interview. I’m looking for professional resumes with no mistakes. I’m looking for communicators. I’m looking for individuals who are willing to tackle new areas.
2) Once I’ve hired them, we set up a schedule and I outline expectations. I don’t expect that they will produce the work of a seasoned professional. I do expect that their work will be thorough and on time. I review dress codes, office protocol and business etiquette. Don’t assume they know any of this. It takes a bit of time, but it will greatly benefit them in their careers, and you won’t have to spend as much time correcting.
I once had an intern who refused to follow the dress code so by day three, she was no longer employed. I also am a realist. I know that during mid-terms, interns will be focused on studying so I often recommend they cut back their hours that week.
3) Provide them with several assignments and expectations for the work. Always include deadlines. Then touch base with them. Some interns are hesitant to ask questions initially so take the time early and often to check that they are on track. If they are, the conversation won’t take long. If they aren’t, you can resolve any problems early before too much time and effort is lost.
4) Make them a part of your team. Include them in planning processes and team meetings. They will bring a unique perspective and one that is often invaluable.
5) Always acknowledge their work. They did the work; they deserve the credit.
6) At the end of the semester, offer to review their resume and tweak it as needed. Provide them with a reference if they did good work for you. If they were really good, hire them!