Internship Development Tips for Employers

Creating Job Descriptions

  • College students may be brighter and more capable (and faster) than you think. (They also get bored easily)
  • Be very detailed about duties and expectations.
  • List benefits, skills they can acquire through this internship.
  • Include timing – specific semester? On-going?
  • Include application deadline date(s)
  • Tasks: appropriate for level of education to mimic entry-level career position

Selecting the Best Intern For the Job

  • Advertise EARLY!
  • Avoid hiring sight unseen.
  • List skills and qualities you feel are essential.
  • Develop questions that get at these. Use behavioral-based (situational) style.
  • Have an application deadline date.
  • Be prepared to let students know when you will be making a decision.
  • Be honest about the amount of administrative work you expect.

Mentoring

  • Mentors do more than just giving instructions about how to do a task.
  • A Teacher teaches about WHY you do things and HOW your policies came about.
  • A Conscientious Supervisor establishes regular meeting times with an intern.
  • A Mentor involves interns and includes them in meetings with others.
  • An Advice-giver talks about professions, career goals, options and gives advice about “how to break into____.”
  • A Mentor asks how things are going and asks if anything is less than ideal.
  • A Mentor Cares.

Supervision

  • Clear expectations.
  • Set time for frequent two-way feedback.
  • Explain WHY and WHAT this is for.

Costs & Demands of Intern Supervision

Minuses:

Requires Lots of Time
Front end – thinking through job description and expectations.
Middle – training in tasks, reviewing work, teaching systems.
Rear end – exit interview, thoughtful feedback, evaluation form.
Different Personalities
As with any job, a new personality introduced into the group requires adjustment. If the student is not “easy”, or is immature, it may take more effort on your part to make this a good situation.

Pluses:

Freshness
Nice to have a fresh, young face around with upbeat, eager to learn attitude.
May provide new ideas and fresh perspectives.
Productivity
Ultimately, you and your office will be more productive with the additional help.
College students often bring needed computer skills, thereby enhancing your output.
Professional Development
Always good to develop supervisory skills: the more practice you have, the easier it becomes.
Could qualify you for a promotion or different type of work.
You will be more of an asset to your supervisor with your experience.
Personal Satisfaction
Mentoring, teaching, inspiring and training a new professional is very rewarding and most derive great satisfaction from this role.
You may learn new things yourself, or make a new friend!

Evaluation

  • Best when done in the form of an "exit interview."
  • Do not dread this! Again, good experience for you in giving feedback.
  • Hopefully, you will have been giving feedback all along, so this final evaluation process should be a recap/summary.
  • Review with the intern the projects they completed (things they can be proud of), the skills they used and developed, and general learning (about a field, industry, and program).
  • Praise them – cite specifically the qualities and traits you have found most helpful and delightful. Let them know they were very much appreciated.
  • If applicable, also review those things that may need improvement: skills to build or work habits to develop.
  • Leave them with any helpful advice about job search, career direction, graduate school, etc.