During my fourteen years of business I have been approached by several college students looking for an unpaid internship. Each relationship provided my business with great rewards. But it’s not a one way street. Five tips for getting the best out of your interns:
- Ask why they want to be an intern and have them provide you with one to three goals that they want to achieve by working with you.
- Conduct a reference check on your intern just as you would for an employee.
- Put your agreement in writing.
- Come up with a few projects that will help them meet their goals and provide value to your company. For example, the last intern we had wanted to learn how to write job descriptions and observe training. I needed to update our human resource audit with current employment laws. So, I arranged for the intern to work on job descriptions for one of our clients, under the supervision of a consultant, arranged for him to sit in on a training, and gave him the HR audit project.
- Meet with your intern regularly to provide coaching and feedback.
My experiences with interns have resulted in co-writing an article on workplace bullying, creating a training program on change, updating my website and updating our human resource audit, among other things. Plus I have enjoyed mentoring and coaching college students and hearing their perspectives. What about you? What tips do you have for getting the best out of your interns?
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