Getting your interns started on their real-life work exposure can be an easy transition, given some effort and coaching.
Here’s a quick checklist to use when hiring interns:
Establish criteria to apply for your internship.
Put the candidates through an interview process. Start the real-life work exposure with a real interview and selection process.
Check their enthusiasm level during the interview, or ask them to write a paragraph why they are interested in your particular opportunity.
Ask for upcoming travel plans up front, make sure you can accommodate, or select another intern.
Define the time frame of the internship (start and end date and weekly hours). Select which team(s) or manager will participate.
Be ready for them on their start date, provide their training schedule and duty outline. Make sure the intern’s desk and computer are set up.
On the first day, define their weekly training schedule, duties and expectations. Provide them with their daily start and end times with lunch schedule (it may mirror their buddy or trainer).
Assign MBTs (mentor, buddy, and trainer). Mentor would be a manager, buddy could be a former intern or associate level, and the trainer would be responsible for overseeing training. Communicate their weekly training timeline and progress goals.
Conduct brief and informal check-in meetings with your intern(s).
Include your intern(s) in actual team meetings and cross teams meetings and projects.
At the end of the internship, conduct an exit meeting to provide shared feedback, ask them to rate their experience.
Keep it legal. Gather information from federal and state resources including minimum wage, etc. Department of Labor is a good place to start, including articles such as “Internship Programs under FLSA” (Fair Labor Standards Act).
If you want variety from undergrads, open your summer internship to MBAs, those returning to the workplace, or those in career transition.
If you keep the process organized and the program defined, the experience will be meaningful and beneficial for your intern with a positive outcome for you and your company.