Internship Program 101: Building an Effective Internship Program

Around this time of year, college sophomores and juniors are preparing for finals getting their resumes together for summer internships. Just as students are preparing to apply for internships, your company (and perhaps you specifically) should be preparing your internship programs.

The Benefits of an Internship Program

In the long-run, hiring interns can decrease recruitment costs and help you to retain top talent. There are also short-term benefits to hiring interns. Adding personnel during peak periods can allow employers to manage their workloads without adding another full-time employee. Interns often bring a new perspective to the workplace as well – after all, they are studying current trends in their industry and tend to be tech-savvy and insightful.

The Components of an Effective Internship Program

It’s easy for an employer to come up short when building an internship program. At many companies, interns are hired to work on a specific project and, once it is complete, are left to find work for themselves. This scenario happens frequently and it can be a big time-waster for the intern and the employer. There are several ways to outline an effective program that will be beneficial to the intern as well as the employer:

  1. Assume Responsibility. Make one person (often the HR manager) responsible for the internship program. In addition to showing them around on the first day, the intern manager should assist with recruiting efforts, keep an updated list of the intern’s responsibilities, and track the intern’s progress.
  2. Department by Department. Make each department responsible for the interns that they hire. At American Family Life Assurance, managers not only have to provide detailed job descriptions, but they must explain how the intern will be beneficial to their department.
  3. Plan Ahead of Time. Take inventory of the projects that need to get done and notify student applicants of what these are. During the interviews you might get a better idea of which students fit based on these projects.

These are just a few of the ways to build an effective internship program. The next step: learn the best practices for recruiting this summer’s top interns. Make sure you subscribe to Where Great Workplaces Start to read the second post in this series of three, Internship Program 201: How to Recruit Tomorrow’s Top Talent.

Source: Human Resource Executive (“Intern-Al Affairs”)
This entry was posted in Recruitment & Selection, Training & Development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Internship Program 101: Building an Effective Internship Program

  1. Pingback: Internship Program 301: From Intern to Employee and Beyond « Where Great Workplaces Start

  2. Jeff says:

    This is great advice, especially the part about being prepared. The last thing you want to have happen is for the intern to show up and not have anything to work on while you try and get everything together.

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