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Making the most of your intern

By Fiona Shaw
October 10 2017

Posted in Blog, Employer Resources

Congratulations – you’ve just taken on your first Summer of Biz intern. You’ve gone through the Meet and Greets, the interviews, and the offers, and you’ve hired your next young superstar. So, what now?

Making the most of your intern means some planning, some risk taking, and a little bit a of work. But by putting in the extra hours, you’ll more than get a return on your investment.

Here are five key pieces of advice on how to make the most of your Summer of Biz intern.

Be prepared

An intern is usually a short-term employee, so you want to make sure you get as much value as possible from the time they spend with you.

Think about all the projects you have coming up, and then make a list of every task involved in that project. Now pick out the tasks suitable for a beginner that are achievable over a short period of time. Make sure these tasks have enough responsibility involved that your intern will feel valued, but also make sure you can oversee their work so you can help correct any mistakes. By making this list, you’ll be prepared for your intern from day one.

Be detailed

Interns are beginners, and they don’t necessarily know a lot about your company. As well as planning out what they need to do, provide detailed instructions for every task. This will allow your intern to be independent and work through the tasks easily without your constant supervision. Giving detailed instructions will also ensure that your intern gets the task right the first time. If you give them context for the task they’ll also feel like they’re making a meaningful contribution to your company.

That being said…

Check in

Set up regular check in times with your intern – maybe once per week. Like any new employee, they will need support as they learn about the role and the company. By setting up a regular check in, you can keep track of what they are doing, answer questions, and also make them feel like a valued member of your team.

You should also set goals and deadlines to make sure your intern achieves exactly what you need when you need it. Your regular check ins can cover progress towards these goals, and give you the opportunity to…

Provide feedback

No one learns and improves without feedback. Clearly tell your intern what they’ve done well and why, and what they can improve on and how. This will make sure their work is to a high standard, of course, but it will also help them grow as a person and an employee. This is great for ensuring the future of the industry and the workforce, and it’s extra helpful for you personally if you’re thinking about hiring your intern for a longer period of time.

If they do something well, reward them. Along with goal setting and regular feedback, this will help motivate them and encourage them to achieve more for your company.

Let them try new things

Not all of your interns will have had a full-time job before, and those that have may not have worked in your particular field. This means they might not always know what they’re good at. However, you can help them figure it out.

Let them try a variety of different tasks in different areas, and then give them feedback on the outcomes. You can them give them more tasks in areas they show strength in, and help them develop in other areas where they are not as strong. You’ll be able to direct your intern more efficiently for current and future tasks, and you’ll help them figure out their strengths and weaknesses, which will give them an advantage in their careers.

Making the most of an intern is about getting the best value for your business and the best value for your intern. By investing in your intern you’ll help your business achieve more and help grow our young workforce (and potentially a future employee as well).

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