Are interns helpful?

With an influx of graduates now hitting the employment market, having some good quality work experience can make a big difference to a graduate ultimately finding employment. t_410_0

But ask yourself, does your organization offer a well-rounded intern experience?

Interns can offer great value to an organization by bringing a fresh perspective. They are also accustomed to learning, researching, writing and producing work to a deadline. As an employer, you can gain assistance and support for projects that you might not otherwise have had the resources to complete. Often employers feel that the time taken to organize and oversee an intern’s day to day schedule often outweighs the benefits they bring.

So how can you effectively manage your interns to benefit both parties?

Hire the best. Your recruitment process for interns should be no different to how you recruit employees. Look for interns that have the skill set you need and are a good fit with your culture.

Project plan. If you have a specific project or series of tasks that you’d like your intern to work on, make sure you document the project and tasks associated with it. During your initial briefing with your intern, you can go through the plan together and refer back to it at the beginning of each day. That way the intern understands the bigger picture goals and will assist you in working towards it. By having a plan at the beginning of the internship, you’ll avoid scrambling each day to try and find something for your intern to work on.

Full time vs. Part Time. Are you wondering whether you have enough time to manage an intern full time? Often interns have part time employment and other commitments, so it could be that part time or casual hours suits you both better than full time.

Development Opportunities. Remember your intern is there to learn about your industry. Invite them to team meetings, company social events and conferences to give them a taste of what working in your organisation is like for a staff member.

One key contact. Assign one member of your staff to be responsible for the intern’s daily progress and development to keep them from being a distraction to everyone. Your intern needs a trusted, single point of contact as well as that all important social team environment. Encourage follow-up, regular meetings, goals and guidance for your intern so you can track their progress and recognize the contribution they have made to the project/organization.

Having an intern in your organization doesn’t have to be a drain on your resources, and through a little bit of planning both the intern and your organization re-coup the benefits.

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