Tips for Managing Interns

In our intern series, we’ve covered the advertising and the interviewing. Now let’s talk about what to do with an intern once you have one. If you’ve followed our previous tips, hopefully you’ve got a great intern (interns?) that will benefit from working at your company. Here are some tips for managing your summer help crew.

First, map out expectations and goals when the intern arrives at the beginning of the summer. The intern’s manager (more on this below) should outline company policies and expectations, and follow up on the goals that were discussed in the interview process. Any summer-long projects should be discussed at this time, and the intern should share his/her goals for the internship.

This process should be headed up by the dedicated manager for your summer help. Like any employee, an intern should know who their boss is. Throughout the summer, the manager should be in charge of training, tracking an intern’s progress, and providing constructive criticism. A dedicated boss will also provide valuable work experience for the intern. This manager jokes that some interns need to learn the difference between a parent and a boss (i.e. young workers often don’t know how to deal with a boss and you can teach them).

It is also important to give other employees a heads up on the summer help situation. This can be as simple as an email: introduce the intern, and explain what exactly he/she will be doing during their time at the company. Inform the employees of proper behavior towards the intern (is it okay to make them go get coffee?) and perhaps share some of the intern’s goals for the summer. If the intern really wants to learn about a specific part of your company, employees in that department should have a heads up about the teaching opportunity.

Once the summer begins, it is important to stick to the expectations that you have established. Just as you would with any employee, hold your intern accountable by providing direct and honest feedback on their work. However, keep your intern’s goals in mind as you provide your feedback. They are here as part of a learning experience, so take some extra time to teach skills and give context for what they are working towards.

Finally, have some fun with your summer help. Everyone at the office will love an excuse to get out the popcorn machine, roll out the ping pong table, or have a welcome picnic for the interns. These activities will keep your interns—and everyone else—relaxed and motivated.

How do you manage your summer help? Does anyone manage multiple interns? Spark a conversation below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Samuel Mann