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How to Handle a Summer Intern

By: Angela Cordle

 

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As your company grows and your employees become more comfortable with their roles, you might find that it’s a convenient time to start hiring summer interns as a form of recruitment. Interns make for great job candidates for a number of reasons. They offer the chance for a no-obligation trial period, which allows you to see if your office is the right place for them before offering a full-time position. Internships can also be a great way source of recruiting fresh talent out of college and of hiring someone who offers a high level of energy and youth to an aging office. Here are a few tips from Jodi Glickman on how to successfully handle a summer intern.

Teach the Company Culture

The best way to kick off an internship experience is to make your interns feel like a part of the team. That means showing them around the office, taking them to lunch, and inviting them to any employee gatherings that might take place outside of work. An intern is more likely to feel comfortable in your office if they are included in the daily activities of the other employees.

Talk About Future Projects

Drive engagement with your interns by informing them of upcoming projects for your business. Of course, you should have them sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to revealing information that may be sensitive to outsiders. Keeping your interns up to date with what’s coming up next will not only help put them at ease with their work but it will allow them envision themselves working for your company in the future.

Offer Resources 

In general, an intern should have access to the same resources as ordinary employees. Of course, there is certain office equipment that requires a high level of skill and care to maintain but you could challenge your interns by letting them play with the tools that make your business run.

Set Expectations 

From the start of an internship, you should strive to make your expectations as clear as possible. That means that there should be no doubt about what are your interns’ duties, how they should spend their time, and what they should be expected to gain from this experience.

Encourage Networking

In addition to the skills that an intern has the chance to develop at your company, the opportunity to network with the people in your organization can add a lot of value to their experience. For many aspiring young professionals or entrepreneurs, there’s no greater asset than the people they know, and an intern may appreciate more than anyone the chance to meet the people in and around your company.

Offer Feedback

Let your interns know what you think about their work. If they haven’t been performing up to par with your expectations, don’t hesitate to tell them. As much as you might seek to build the confidence of your interns, you would be doing a disservice not to update them of how they are doing. As you give your interns feedback, offer them a chance to respond and tell you how they feel their skills are progressing so that you can find out how honest they are with themselves and discover how receptive they are to criticism.

Published: July 1, 2013
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Angela Cordle

Angela Cordle is the EVP of Tarkenton Financial, a leading insurance marketing firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. In this role, she serves as the Human Resources Director, overseeing the provision of HR services, policies, and programs for the company. She also serves as a BizCoachingOnDemand.com consultant, bringing practical and experiential knowledge of HR best practices to small businesses.

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