A good intern is just as valuable as a salaried staff member. In a small company, interns are integral part of the corporation because they take on the minute, but important tasks.
Whether they’re sending emails and faxes, making phone calls, managing social media, following up with clients or ordering supplies, these are the things that keep the company going, but frankly, things that higher level staffers would rather not do.
Interns, then, are corporate life savers. They’re willing and able to take on the most undesirable assignments to build the company – if given the proper guidance.
The amount of preparation and planning that you put into recruiting and managing your intern is the difference between having a super-star you want to hire and a kid you want to murder. Just saying.
To begin the process of recruiting your intern, you must first jot down everything you need from this individual and figure out the specific skills associated with each task i.e. to make phone calls they must be a good verbal communicator, to send emails or to maintain online networks, they have to be a little tech savvy and well written, etc.
Once you’ve listed what you want, you know what to look for when receiving resumes and cover letters. Further, in the interview, this list will guide you in asking the right questions. You must be able to gauge how much of what you need that each candidate is already familiar with and how much training you’ll have to do.
Also, in the interview, it is important to ask questions related to their knowledge of your industry. If you’re in fashion, ask them about their personal style or favorite designers. If you’re in technology, ask them about tech products they use or the most successful brands in the industry.
Another practical ask is in regards to their communication style. With so many modes of correspondence today, you need to know if you can reach them best via text, phone, skype, email, etc. so you can always get in touch with them, especially if the internship requires remote access work.
Also, don’t forget in the interview to give them a substantial history about the company and details about how their position will operate--all of which should also be given in writing if they’re hired.
Now that you’ve selected the perfect person, you have to ensure proper planning. So take the written outline you created previously and add specifics. Spell out the “who, what, when, where, how and why” so that they will effectively get the job done.
While it’s great to give them freedom to work on things their way, just know that the end product may not be what you had in mind if your instructions aren’t detailed, unless you get a really skilled, over-achiever.
The last thing before they’re ready to begin is to have both parties sign a contract. Even if it is an unpaid internship, it is important to have in writing the start and end date, responsibilities of both parties, terms of the agreement, etc. in case situations arise.
Once the contract is signed, they’re ready to get started. The best way to begin with a new intern would be giving them one task at a time to further assess their working style, accuracy and efficiency. As they complete an assignment, you can gradually add on more responsibilities.
Happy intern recruiting!