Hiring an intern is a challenging, yet exciting process. However, if not done properly, it may lead to major loss of resources at the company's end.
As an organization expands its horizons, it starts looking for a novel talent pipeline. Drawing perspective from the newfangled era often courts inspiration. One way to do this is – properly executed ‘internships’. The organization will benefit from an internship program if it is structured and provides the interns with the guidance they need to be successful. The more resources a company is willing to put towards the internship program, the better it will be.
Want an intern?
The first quintessential aspect of bringing an intern is to: the job responsibilities should complement the candidate’s profile, i.e., there should be a fitment between the work given to the intern and his skills. The work which is being assigned should not be cluttered and fragmented but should be a structured project. This way, there will be an alignment of thoughts which will eventually lead to the creation of the bigger picture. Instead of giving a predetermined project, the intern should be given different choices of projects from which s/he can choose, depending on their competencies.
Intern onboarding/orientation should be inclusive of everything – the parameters should be set beforehand, defining when and how the intern will be judged; and the pillars of the project should be made clear as to how the intern will affect the overall viability of the task. The age of millennials live on the note of instant gratification. Ergo, the intern should be presented with a fair and square picture of the worth they will be bringing to the work if they perform accordingly.
The intern is a raw and potential employee. The most important aspect of the internship will be to channelize the intern’s strengths and creativity in a way that they fit with the organisation’s culture. Constant mentoring and guidance will be required in order to bring out the best from the intern. The fusion of old and new competencies (gained during the process) will give him a head-start in his professional career.
Get the intern!
The intern will be the most volatile person in your organisation. On that account, you would have to manoeuvre through different leadership styles in order to monitor and take him along. There’s no way one way to go when it comes to mentoring an intern. There has to be a mix of approaches wherein you coach through a problem, participate in brainstorming, assert to deadlines, and direct to the solution. The proper channelization of expertise can only happen when there’s an element of flexibility. The best version of your style to deal with an intern can be ‘mentor cum manager’. While the other way round might not be a great idea.
There will be instances when you will not be around and the intern would require assistance. In that case, having two people to monitor an intern may come handy. This also comes with a notion that the person who is assigned the task to monitor the intern should actually be capable and ready to supervise a young and curious intern. This internship is an opportunity for young managers as well, to become future leaders.
When it comes to the delivery of the task, the intern should not be assigned a huge pile of work. Further, the type of work assigned to the intern shouldn’t be repetitive and passive. Instead, the task allocated should ameliorate the competencies of that intern. The organisation should leverage his potential.
The process of not knowing it and eventually loving it will come only when you give a framework which explains the assignment thoroughly. For this to the happen, the environment should be conducive enough so that the intern is able to blend with the organisation’s system and processes and put forwards his best foot! He should not feel isolated within the organisation. Make the intern as a stakeholder in the project and seek inputs from him. Don’t mind the silly questions or explaining the simple concepts. Having patience is the key to get the best out of the intern. Alternatively, the employees should also be reachable so that the intern can go to them whenever in doubt.
The most critical outcome that extends to all the facets of any work is – ‘learning’. Hitherto, what the intern knew was his own experience. But after this fruitful internship program, the first question asked should be – “What is the intern walking out with?”. And the answer to this question which will justify the program will be – “A bucket of learnings, skills, and experiences”. If you were able to create the environment of learning, then the intern not only got the hands-on-experience of the real life scenario which he will eventually step into, but he also had the chance of having ‘try before you buy’ experience. The taste of ‘know-how’ of this world will help him to make better and informed choices later in his career.
For the organisation, what is better than unlearning and then learning the new and contemporary ways of executing any task? The fresh wave brought by the intern will help the organisation to sprinkle creativity in the corners of every cubicles yet again. The intern also helped in double-checking the facts and figures which makes the process more efficient.
The parameters which were developed before the internship had started, will now be the benchmark in hiring the future-employee for the similar profile.