Interns want to work and learn! Provide interns with opportunities to gain real work experience allowing them to apply business knowledge learned in class. If you’ve brought on an intern as a recruitment tool, give the intern assignments that will allow you to assess their abilities as a future member of your team.
Be honest with your interns about what they can expect during the internship. If the job requires stuffing some envelopes, make that clear. But if you tell the intern she will be researching a project, and she spends 90% of her time doing "grunt work" bad feelings will develop. Honesty makes students feel respected.
Remember interns are students and may not have the business skills and experiences you take for granted. If your intern makes an oversight, pull him aside and explain how the situation should be handled in the future.
Is there a staff meeting they can attend? Can they quietly tag along to a project meeting? Can they be included in staff luncheons? Including them in the daily life of your workplace helps students understand the work environment as a whole and how specific functions fit together within an organization.
When you assign work, make sure you give a detailed explanation. While the work may seem obvious to you, it may not be obvious to someone who’s never done it. With proper explanation, interns can produce good work independently.
Make sure interns have a mentor or supervisor to provide guidance. Mentors should be someone who truly likes to teach to produce the best experience for the intern and the company. Remember, the best mentor in the world is useless if she can’t spend the necessary time mentoring. Mentors need to take time to regularly meet with interns to provide feedback.
Taking a little time to plan for an intern before he arrives will not only help the intern feel wanted and respected but will allow the intern to begin work on a project immediately. Things to plan include both specific project and task assignments and physical needs such as providing a workstation or computer access. It is disheartening for a student to start an internship and learn there is no place for them to work.
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