Gone are the days when interns were a burden to your company.
Gone are the days when having an intern meant you had someone to get you coffee and clean your office and gone should be the days, when they become a burden to your time and your company.
Interns can be an integral part of your organization. In this day and age they are probably more technically savvy than the directors in your organization. They know how to research, type, network, code and decode better than any generation before them. They love technology and more so, they love the idea of success, fame and fortune, as it’s all over their social media world.
Do they have a short attention span? Most of them.
Can they be driven to succeed? Absolutely.
They need to be given the right tools so you don’t just have them for a few months but rather a few years. If you play your cards right, you won’t be wasting your time just to see them run out the door when their internship is over. So make the most out of your interns so you see a return in your investment.
Pick Wisely: Before even having an intern, know what the role of the person will be. Just like your stock portfolio you wouldn’t just go with the seat of your pants, you would look at industry, the company, the potential. Don’t just have an intern because of the free or almost free labour. What is their potential in your company? How do you want them to grow with the company? How do you want to see them succeed? What type of person best fits your organization from the get go? Don’t pick anyone, pick with purpose.
Proper Onboarding: They are human and they are just like any other new employee in your organization. They need a proper onboarding process which means, an email prior to arrival, indicating the information they need to succeed the first day, an introduction to the team, the company, a computer and even a cell phone, if that’s normal protocol for your organization. Ensure they have an email address as well. Treat them with the same respect you would any other new employee. Just like a stock if it’s doing poorly, you have two choices, stick with it and hope it/they pick up or get rid of them!
Remain Calm: They are interns, which means they are learning, which also means you have to allow them to try things and make mistakes. The biggest mistake you can make with an intern is being extremely overbearing and watching their every move. Watch your stocks from a distance. Watching them every second won’t make your life easier, just more stressful so when it comes to an intern, let them learn, they will stay.
Let Them Speak: They are new, they have questions, they have ideas. Some ideas might be outlandish but some might actually work for your organization. Don’t discount them just because they are young. They see things differently then you and that’s not a bad thing. Their creative juices can allow you to think differently as well and create something incredible.
Give A Pat On The Back: It won’t kill you to say “Good job” “Thank You” “Love That!”. Don’t flood their head with compliments that they think they can feel they can run the company today but give them a sense of value by providing positive feedback every now and again so they can see themselves a huge part of the company in the future.
Remember It’s Not About The Money: Your intern is there because he/she wants to learn the ropes of your company and/or your job. They aren’t there for the money as much as you might be. Some interns aren’t even paid and that you need to be well aware of and remember! They are there because they genuinely want to be. Perhaps taking that into consideration and paying for their lunch or a movie or a show can be a nice way to reward them. The $10 lunch can save you hundreds and thousands of dollars in the long run as they grow your company, with you. Appreciation goes a long way.
When you are hiring an intern, you are hiring someone to help you build your team, your company and your dreams. They come in with zero experience so you must groom them properly, and invest in them wisely so all your efforts aren’t wasted and they essentially leave to help build someone portfolio. If that happens, you have no one to blame but your own market value.
Jessica Glazer is the Recruitment Director/Founder of www.MindHR.com-a head-hunting and resume writing agency. She writes for Huffington Post, can be heard on Montreal’s NewsTalk Radio CJAD and seen on BTMontreal and Global television speaking about employment related issues.