The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Summer Intern

Ah, the summer intern. We all think we want one. Many of us have a Movie in the Mind about all the work they’re going to take off our plate.

This blog post focuses on some best practices (according to BrandTuitive) to maximize the summer intern experience…for you…and for them.

Around here we value development . . .a lot. So when summer internship time rolls around, there is much discussion about how to set up our program in a way that ensures that our interns go back to school in September smarter, better and stronger than when they came to us, oh, and in a way that the agency gets something back in return while they’re here.

Here are our favorite practices with regard to the proper care and feeding of your summer intern:

·      Expose them to a lot of stuff – not only is this a gift to them; but if you let them participate in a lot of activities, you just might find they have a bigger contribution to make than you originally thought.

·      Coach them on the foundational professional skills – give them room to fail. Maybe you only hire interns who are already finely groomed. Or maybe you cut them a lot of slack because “they’re only interns.” But you don’t do them (or your company) any favors by not holding them to the same standards you hold your permanent employees.

·      Check in with them – ask them what’s working and what’s not working. They might see something that’s a blind spot for you because they’re coming in with a fresh set of eyes.

·      Plan to do a formal review at the end of the internship – tell them what you’re going to review and set objectives for their personal growth. This will likely be the first time they are exposed to the review process. Give them an opportunity to experience what it’s like before they get to “the real world.”

College students only get a handful of opportunities to intern. We consider it a privilege and a responsibility to provide an experience that allows them to grow exponentially. It’s our way of giving back to all those who provided wisdom to us when we were just beginning our career journeys. #payitforward