At first, having an intern seems like a no-brainer. Your company gets free, or low cost, help, while you help a student or inexperienced worker advance a career. However, without proper planning, internships can turn into a big headache for the employer and frustration for the intern. On the other hand, effective internships produce quality work from the intern, without creating stress for his manager, and boost a company’s recruitment efforts.
1. List specific tasks that an intern can accomplish for your company. Effective internships contain a mix of assignments.
2. Outline the skill set and experience needed by the intern to complete identified tasks. General filing and office support tasks can be handled by a high school or first year college student. Help with complicated research proposals or financial analysis might require an intern working on an advanced degree with one or two years of work experience.
3. Establish a budget for your internship and secure resources for the position. Remember to include any training or tools an intern might need to be successful in the position.
4. Pick the best time for your company to have an intern. If your organization desperately needs office support during the holidays, that might be a great time for an intern to handle general tasks. On the other hand, if your company is busy during tax season responding to complicated requests, that might not be the best time for an inexperienced intern who requires extensive staff supervision.
5. Assign staff to supervise each intern position. Effective internships match the amount and style of supervision to the needs and experience of the intern.