Hiring interns can be a great way to find future full-timers, but only if their experience is worthwhile. Here are some common ways managers screw it up, and how you can help avoid that.
One goal of intern programs is finding people who will come work for the company when they’re finished school.
But if companies aren’t careful, they can turn these people off to the idea of seeking permanent employment. Here are some of the common problems and advice on avoiding them:
- Cutting them too much slack. That doesn’t do anyone any good. They’re there to learn about the “real world,” and you want to learn about them. Sure, they probably won’t be treated exactly the same as regular staff, but it should be pretty close. Most importantly, constructive feedback is key.
- Not helping them learn. In addition to giving them meaningful work, managers should give interns plenty of time to ask questions about the company and the business in general. Also, if there are specific things an intern wants to try doing, some flexibility in assignments might be the best way to get the most out of him or her.
- Avoiding talk about the specifics of future opportunities. If you’d like the interns to consider taking a permanent job after graduation, tell them it’s a possibility and that you’ll be in touch down the road. Getting too specific might box you in or give the impression you’re making a commitment. Sending regular e-mails to past interns (the good ones, anyway) is a good way to keep the company on their minds.