A good internship creates a classic win-win situation for everyone involved. The biggest benefit for interns is the chance to work with professionals in their field of interest. It also gives them an opportunity to decide if this is the best career choice to pursue. The employer wins, too. Most companies that hire interns say it provides them with the opportunity to select the best and brightest for summer help and maybe, future employment, while also increasing their company’s community goodwill.
At Shamrock, we’re lucky enough to choose from the best and brightest among young people seeking an internship. Actually, it isn’t luck that gets us good interns. It’s the fact that we treat them well.
We have one Golden Rule: Never Exploit or Neglect An Intern. Unhappy interns are like unhappy customers. They talk (a lot!) about a bad experience. This will have a negative impact on hiring good interns in the future. Negative reviews from interns may even impact hiring good employees!
We also make every attempt to set aside the time to mentor our interns, as well as provide them with an actual learning experience they can showcase on a resume.
Finally, I believe interns should be paid for their work; it makes them better and more productive temporary employees. (We generally pay summer interns. Exceptions may be high school students and students who are obtaining credit for their internship.) If payment in dollars is not an option, there are other types of compensation… see my comments below.
Here are a few more sound and simple tips for a positive internship experience:
- Make your intern feel like part of the team
- Emphasize the importance of your intern’s work
- Give interns new and different tasks to challenge them, and provide them with just one task they can own and complete from beginning to end
- Show your intern how he or she is positively affecting the company
- Give constant constructive feedback
ONE LAST THING…
In today’s economy, some companies can’t afford to pay interns. And because of a tight economy, many college students will accept an unpaid internship in order to gain experience that helps lead them to the job they want. Companies that only offer unpaid internships can develop a strategy to compensate student hires by offering interns an outstanding work experience. And if the work experience is worth an unpaid summer, word travels fast around a college campus. If an unpaid intern tells a friend or two how great his internship was, students will be knocking down your door for the opportunity.