Successful internship programs bring tremendous value to companies. For starters, a robust internship program helps build a strong pipeline for entry-level positions. When both the company and the students are familiar with each other, this makes for a smoother and potentially quicker hiring process. And in the end, don’t you want your recruiters to spend less time and money on entry-level positions, and have more focus on harder-to-fill positions?
Why a Positive Internship Experience is Critical
Ensuring that interns have a positive experience in their internship will determine the likelihood of both sides pursuing a full-time employment relationship once they move on. A negative experience could mean they walk away from your company after their internship period is up, or even worse, they may choose to leave before the end of the agreement. News of a negative experience travels quickly on campus, putting a serious dent in your ability to hire from a specific program or an entire school. It’s also important to consider the cost of time in locating and training a new set of interns. Full-time employment relationship once they move on. A negative experience could mean they walk away from your company after their internship period is up, or even worse, they may choose to leave before the end of the agreement. News of a negative experience travels quickly on campus, putting a serious dent in your ability to hire from a specific program or an entire school. It’s also important to consider the cost of time in locating and training a new set of interns.
4 Tips for Onboarding Interns
Companies are missing the boat when treating interns as only a temporary, less experienced member of their team. Interns should experience an organized onboarding plan, increasing chances for a positive internship experience and a successful internship program. Here are 4 tips to get you started:
- Include Interns in the Same Orientation as Full-Time Employees
What do the first few days look like for your new hires? Is there a day filled with videos, meetings, paperwork, etc? Are there any trips to company offices in other locations?
Make a list of everything in an orientation that interns can be included in. Let interns sit through as much as possible with new hires and they’ll learn much more about the company and feel part of the company culture from the beginning.
- Assign Interns a Buddy
Starting an internship can be overwhelming and intimidating. It takes time to get assimilated into the culture, but having a “buddy” to help with the transition could help make it much smoother.
The buddy or mentor shouldn’t be their internship supervisor. Instead, pick another employee who works within their department or function. The responsibility shouldn’t be too much of a burden for whoever is assigned to mentor the intern. One hour focus meetings over lunch or elsewhere give the intern a chance to learn, ask questions, and gain a friend.
- Have a Clear Vision of the Internship
What do you want interns to be able to do in the first 30, 60, 90, and even 180 days after their internship starts? Granted, most internships don’t last 180 days, but mapping out how they’ll grow and how the job would expand if they stayed on that long just might keep them around.
With each goal, map out items they need to learn and experience to meet those goals. Explain to your intern how these goals and experiences will help their career in the long run and they’ll be more likely to buy in.
- Conduct Monthly Performance Reviews
While your full-time employees will come to expect performance reviews either every 6 months or annually, interns need feedback, praise, and constructive criticism much more often. Plan their monthly objectives and goals and then meet to discuss progress every month.
When possible, praise your interns on their work and progress. We all like hearing positive sentiments about ourselves and interns are no different. People tend to gravitate and spend energy on what they’re good at and you want your college talent to start to think of your company as an ideal landing spot after graduation.
Is your talent acquisition team ready for the Fall College Recruitment Season? Our blog has covered multiple articles on college hiring and internships, so make sure to stop by and read through! Let us know what you think about this blog and others by tweeting us at @goWepow.
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