Wiki: An intern is someone who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment
Webster: An intern is an advanced student or graduate usually in a professional field gaining supervised practical experience
Effective = Successful, useful, helpful, producing result
From the intern’s perspective – how will you know it was a successful, useful, helpful internship
From the employer’s perspective – how will you know it was a successful, useful, helpful internship?
Begin with the end in mind …
At the end of the session, you will have an understanding of how to:
Determine your organization's ability to support an intern
Determine the financial arrangement – and stay legal with unpaid interns
Select the right person
Assess the intern's performance.
Can you support an Intern?
Key questions to ask yourself before hiring an intern:
Which of my organization’s goals can be met or advanced over a short period of time by use of an intern?
What value will my organization derive from meeting these goals?
What value will the intern derive from the experience?
How much time am I willing to spend overseeing the work?
How will I measure success?
How you answer these questions will have a direct impact on the effectiveness of the experience.
What are the Financial Arrangements?
Paid or Unpaid: That is the question ….
For-profit Unpaid Interns: *Department of Labor’s Six Factor test
The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment ;
The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern ;
The intern does not displace regular employees , but works under close supervision of existing staff;
The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
The employer and intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship
Ask yourself: Who is the main beneficiary? The Company or the Intern?
Unpaid interns – experience is even more critical
*Unpaid internships are a form of quid pro quo arrangement. A business or other organization offers someone a valuable experience and in turn receives help from that person. It's the kind of help the individual provides that determines whether a particular unpaid internship is ethical or not. If the intern's efforts are integral to the learning experience (for example, setting up appointments and then attending those meetings), such efforts are a legitimate use of the intern's time and are thus ethically appropriate. If, however, the intern is acting essentially as unpaid labor (e.g., stuffing envelopes, making photocopies, or fetching coffee), such work may constitute exploitation and is therefore to be avoided.”
Bruce Weinstein, PhD
Selection – It starts with a job description
“ If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” The Cat to Alice, Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Necessary elements of a job description: Essential job functions and Minimum Qualifications (required skills, education, experience)
Why is it important to write a job description?
Ensures that the job connects to the overall business strategy or plan
Gives applicants a picture of the assignment so they can align their talents and abilities
Makes the selection process more objective because it gives you standards by which to measure applicants
Once you know what you need, cast a wide net to collect the best candidates available for consideration.
Selection – The screening process
“ 90% of directing is casting.” John Houston
Use the job description as a tool as you screen candidates
Screen candidate resumes for minimum qualifications
Once minimum qualifications are affirmed, stack rank applicants according to other qualifications that are important for your organization
Phone screen the applicants to fill in any blanks
Use all the data to narrow the field to the number you want to interview
Hint: The better written the job description and qualifications, the smoother the screening process.
Selection – The Interview
Since qualifications have been confirmed through screening, what’s the purpose of an interview?
To assess whether they can do the specific job
To assess the cultural fit
Interview questions should align with the job description
Think ahead, make a list of questions
Listen for clues as to whether the candidate is a good cultural fit
Combine behavior questions with job knowledge and situational questions
Be consistent with questions if interviewing more than one candidate
Orientation and Training are key to successful internship experience
Upon arrival, direct supervisor should:
Give an overview of the business and key strategies
Review the job description and day to day activities and any special assigned projects
Assign workspace and ensure it is equipped with phone, computer, etc.
Take them on a tour of the office and introduce them to co-workers
Explain office policies and procedures (ex. calling in sick)
Provide basic training and ongoing supervision
Establish goals or performance metrics
In partnership with the intern, set SMART goals
Why is this an important first step in Managing Expectations?
How can it help during the assessment process?
Why are performance assessments important?
Benefits to the intern:
They are in a training mode – this is developmental feedback
Enables discussion about improvement opportunities
Helps prepare intern for future roles in the “real world”
Benefits to the organization:
Keeps intern aligned with organizations goals
Provides supporting documentation for future actions (recommendations, potential job offer)
Balanced picture of strengths and improvement opportunities
Specific examples to support feedback
An opportunity for intern comments
Tips for successful internship
Plan and Prepare
Orient and Train
Supervise, Supervise, Supervise
Include and enrich
Challenge and Use
Provide post intern Support
Adapted from Michigan State Career Services Network