Are You Making the Most of Your Intern?

KEEPING INTEREST HIGH: Supervision is key to the success of the program. Interns like direction, but don't like to feel they are being constantly checked on. Even this small amount of direction, however, can take a great deal of time. It is important to be willing to set aside this time to give the intern direction. One method that seems to work calls for a briefing at the beginning of each day and a "where-do-we-stand?" briefing at its end. Throughout the day, the manager is on hand to answer any questions that might come up -- remember this is a learning experience! There should also be additional time set aside throughout the duration of the internship during which the manager receives feedback from the intern on his or her satisfaction with the assignment and suggestions for future directions. Equally important, interns should receive feedback on their progress. They need to know if they are performing to the manager's expectations. Additionally, many interns have chosen to keep diaries and time logs documenting their involvement. These can be reviewed at the conclusion of that person's internship.

MOTIVATION: It is important to understand what normally motivates interns. Interns want to feel as though they are a member of the team - partners with the staff. Staff members must understand this and accept the intern. Limiting intern assignments to routine, mechanical, or uninteresting tasks will also limit the program. Interns thrive on challenge and managers must have respect for their talents and capabilities. An intern wants to feel welcome but not prejudged. This can best be done on the part of the manager through the provision of a desk and telephone-and anything else that will make the intern feel comfortable. Likewise it is important for interns to know operational procedures, what the boundaries are, and the framework within which they must work.

INVOLEMENT: Interns need to have a sense of involvement in planning objectives. They need to feel that their ideas have had a fair hearing. The goals and objectives arrived at should be within reach and make sense to interns. Progress should also be observable to them, since one of the most motivating and exciting factors in an internship is having the feeling that one is making a difference. For this to be the case, they need to be trained to do the job they have undertaken. In addition, remember that everyone responds well to constructive criticism. Also, interns tend to think globally. They want to know not only the specific job they will perform and the scope of this job but also its relationship to other jobs.

Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For a free site to look for interns seeking internships: Internships4You and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

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