As some of you may know, I started off my job as a marketing coordinator as an intern. I’m here to explain how to successfully start up an internship program at your company. You can read here to find out why you should even bother taking on some interns.
Step 1: Research
You need to know the type of person who is likely going to intern for you. Learn the generational needs of the interns. Some universities
require internships for graduation. Look up local universities and the majors they offer to see if there are any potentials. Find out what kinds of people are looking for internships? Are they business, creative, technologically inclined?
Step 2: Compare needs to Intern Pool
After finding out the types of interns you will be targeting, compare those people to the needs of your company. What are you looking for out of an intern? What can you hire an intern for? This is important. Do your research on the legalities of creating an internship. You can’t put an unpaid person in a paid position to save yourself some money. If you NEED a new head of sales, hire one. Find another use for an intern, or pay them.
Step 3: Design the Program
Now it’s time to get into the smaller details. Think about the person you would want to head the interns. A coordinator can help keep track of progress and the needs of the interns specifically. In the long run, they can also be a direct referral for the intern to get hired in after the internship. Think about how long the internship should last, when you should post the job, and how often to attend job fairs. This is essential for keeping a constant flow of interns coming through without stringing people along for months. Do you want interns every season, only in the summer? If you choose to hire an intern, think about the onboarding process for them. It will be different from a traditional hire.
Step 4: Start to Reach out
After you’ve answered all of the nitty gritty questions and organized the program, the next step is to start looking. Maybe post the job description on your website, or hire an outsourced recruiter (wink wink) to start scouring the talent pool. Contact the universities you think can bring ready-to-learn students to your company. Get some interviews going to get a feel for if you are going to have to tweak your program come your intern’s first day. Change is good; don’t be too rigid in your internship program.
Step 5: Follow up
After your first batch of interns, make sure you ask them for feedback. Get the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you plan on keeping the program going, it should change with the times and the needs of the company. There is always room for improvement. Interns who are not hired and who were not paid, have nothing to lose by laying out the bad and the ugly. Take their advice and complaints seriously. If you don’t have any open positions by the end of an intern cycle, find a way to keep in contact with the interns after they leave. It’s good to keep them in your back pocket in case a position opens up in the future. Don’t extend the internship because by the end of their program, they are probably in need of a paying job. Just don’t forget about them in the future.
If you have any questions about starting an internship program, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you create programs, audit your handbook, do an intern search, and help you with any other hiring needs that you might have.