How to Create a Meaningful Internship Program
Internships have become an increasingly common business practice. While an intern is generally designated as the go-to person to pick up coffee and dry cleaning, you want to make the program worthwhile to your interns. More than likely, your interns will be students looking to gain experience in a field they are interested in. Too many companies do not properly develop the program, so a student’s potential ends up going to waste on coffee runs. If you want to be a leader in your field, then you should take the steps to develop a meaningful internship program that both you and your interns will benefit from.
Developing the Internship
As with any endeavor, you want to be certain you have sufficiently planned out the program. You do not want to go into this event completely blind, and by planning everything out beforehand, you significantly reduce your chances of having an intern who does not really have anything to do. Some of the steps to take include:
-Figuring out how many interns you need. Some companies may only need one every 10 weeks while other organizations will require much more.
-Determining how many hours a week your interns will need to work.
-Deciding who in your company will be a supervisor of the program. These will also be the people who will report to you to tell you the progress the interns have been making and if they feel any interns should be hired on as actual employees.
-Settling on what kinds of projects the interns will be accountable for. A meaningful internship program should consist of tasks that will give the individual real world experience outside of doing basic errands.
-Concluding what kind of compensation the interns will receive. You need to look through state and national laws concerning internships to make sure you are on the right side of the law. While many interns are given college credit, you should see if financial compensation should also be on the table.
Finding the Best Candidates
Once you have figured everything out, you actually need to find people who want to be part of it. The easiest place to find interested candidates for your meaningful internship program is college campuses. Students may be trying to figure out what kind of career they ultimately want, or they may know exactly the kind of company they want to work for after graduation and just need more on-site experience.
Most colleges would be more than happy to assist you in finding interns, so you can start by calling a front desk or seeing if a college has some kind of internship office already in place. You might be able to post a listing on the college’s website. You should also see if there is a career fair or internship panel you can be a part of. This requires you to set up a booth at the campus and talk with students about the opportunities available at your business. You should also routinely update your company’s website and social media if you have any internship openings. Never neglect a single resource when you are looking for new hires or else you could miss out on some stellar candidates.
Hiring Your New Interns
Once you have adequately posted listings, you are ready to start hiring individuals for your meaningful internship program. For the most part, this will be treated similar to a regular job interview. You will receive resumes from the interested applicants and determine who has the skills and potential for growth you are looking for. Since many students will be applying, they may not have a lot of professional experience, but you should see what they are studying in school and what student organizations they are a part of. You can call their references and perform background checks if needed, but at the end of it, you will be ready to take on new interns.
Finally, be ready for some on-site training. This may be some people’s first time working in a professional environment, so in addition to teaching them the basic tasks they need to do, you may also need to teach your interns how to dress properly and handle heavy workloads. The goal of a meaningful internship program is to potentially find people you can bring on as full-time employees, so pay attention to your interns’ growth throughout the program to see if they can benefit your organization in the long-term.
Mighty Recruiter has numerous resources available to help you find great interns and full-time employees, so browse through them to start building your business.