The Toppel Career Center believes that quality internships are an extremely effective way for organizations to test, train, and recruit potential full-time employees while, at the same time, offering students an opportunity to learn and gain practical work experience.
Step 1: Assess Your Organization And Do Your Research
Step #3: Implement Your Program
Gain an understanding of what internships will look like at your organization. Evaluate past use of interns and think about whatinterns could be looking for from your company. Ask yourself the following questions: • • • • • • • •
How can I/ my organization benefit from teaching an intern? Do I plan on compensating my interns monetarily or via academic credit? (If you are planning on compensating your intern, ensure you are able to designate the appropriate funds) Can my company support more than one intern at a time? What type of meaningful work will interns have the ability to work on? How will my physical space accommodate interns? What is my ideal duration/time of the year to host an intern(s)? Do you require specific work authorization for interns; am I willing to hire international students for internships?
It is also essential that you educate yourself on the legal issues regarding internships Specifically, it is important to consider: Compensation requirements (Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act), Safety and harassment policies, termination guildelines, company specific policies pertaining to interns Understand college credit: This would generally be the responsibility of the student and his or her school however most institutions should be able to provide you some form of verification that the student is obtaining academic credit, either through a Faculty member, Academic Advisor or the Career Center.
Step 2: Design Your Internship Program And Allocate Resources It is important that you gain internal support for your intern and internship program; this is an endeavor of working with and supervising interns that will likely fall on multiple individuals in your organization. Program Structure
Tasks to Complete In addition to desiging the structure of your internship program, complete the following steps:
1. Develop a position description: use this to disseminate to interested parties, colleges and universities, listservs, and other posting boards Once you have an accurate assessment and clear understanding of how interns will benefit your 2. Delegate: determine who on staff organization, you can begin designing the structure of the program. Some things you should con- will be responsible for what and move forward. As an internship supervisor, sider about your intern(s) include: ensure you build in time to respond • Learning objectives/goals of the internship program to inters or other staff as the program • Orientation/On-boarding processes moves forward. • Daily responsibilities 3. Determine your time frame: • Short-term or long-term projects (depending on the length of the internship) Intern supervision Give yourself enough time to evaluate • Opportunities for mentorship and interaction with other company members your applicant pool. If your organization • Evaluation procedures (keep in mind that those earning academic credit may have additional requires background checks or any procedures they also have to follow by their institution’s academic department) additional processes,make sure you • Opportunities for students and their supervisor to process and reflect throughout the internship give yourself enough time.
Advertise the Position and Evaluate Your Candidates • •
Utilize posting boards at select institutions and reach out to Career Centers to determine the best way to attract students Devise a system for how you will evaluate resumes to decide who you will interview- Will it be one person or a team?
Interview and Hire Conduct your interviews, check references, and perform any necessary background checks (as required by your organization) • Begin your on-boarding/orientation process: Set up a work area for intern(s), determine if they will have access to a phone/voicemail, computer, email, internet access or any additional/necessary resources for them to do their job • Give them a tour of the facilities and introducing them to staff they will work with or could benefit from networking with. • Provide the interns with any relevant reading material (newsletters, annual reports, organizational chart) • Share with interns if there is anything they should know regarding office culture (e.g. industry-specific jargon, work standards/ procedures, dress code, any additional relevant information) • Share schedule with them (including any meetings they are required or encouraged to attend, one-on-one meeting time with supervisor)
Step #4: Assessment & Evaluation
Developing a successful internship program is only the beginning. Assessing your program regularly will not only allow you to connect more effectively with students, it will provide you with opportunities to discover future leaders in your field. Evaluation will encourage improvements in the program which will in turn, keep interns and staff satisfied with the program. Types of assessments to consider: • Is the internship program meeting the needs of your organization? • Consider how this is meeting your intern’s needs. Are they gaining the necessary experience in their field? Are they receiving real projects? • Consider developing an exit survey for interns to complete. • How many interns become full-time employees? • Measuring the length of stay of employees who were previous interns compared to those who were not.
Benefits of having an Internship Program Supporting Students • Whether you are recruiting from your alma mater, or simply from local colleges and universities, you are providing students with invaluable work experience. You are allowing them to develop and hone their skills, build their resumes, and assess their interests and abilities.
Discover prospective employees • You are selecting individuals that hopefully exemplify the values and skills that best fit/represent your organization and you are spending time teaching them about the industry and what you do. This is a perfect pool to hire from later. • Get a “sneak-peek” into a student’s work ethic, skills, and abilities by trying out candidates through the duration of their internship experience. You will see early on whether or not that might be a good fit for your organization.
Amplified Productivity • By hiring an intern, you will have extra ideas and extra hands when working on or developing projects and be able to see how your team might work together if interns were brought on in a fulltime capacity. • Low-cost labor: This will depend on the compensation package of your program; however you won’t be paying for benefits, unemployment, or severance packages with interns. You know they are motivated, as they have sought out real work experiences while still maintaining their status as fulltime students.