If you’re creating an intern program, you’ve got to look at it from both sides. You’re looking for someone to help you out. You won’t be paying them – or if you are, it’s not going to be much. So why would anyone want to work for you for free?
Internships are all about gaining the experience that will expand a resume and help people along their career path. The bonus for you is free or low cost help. It’s not the other way around. It’s not about free help for you that, with a bit of luck, may be useful to your unpaid helper. That’s a recipe for unhappy interns. If they aren’t going to receive financial recompense, you’ve got to give them something that’s valuable to them in another way.
It’s also very likely that you’ll find your interns dropping out before the internship is complete. Let’s be realistic. That’s a lose/lose scenario for all concerned. You also don’t want disgruntled ex-interns regarding your business negatively. If you make the experience worthwhile for your interns, then everyone should be happy.
So what can you offer an intern? Think it through really carefully. This is vital in selecting the right intern (or any employee, for that matter) for your business. The secret for success is matching the person to the opportunity you are able to provide.
Will you be offering insight and insider information into how your particular industry works for people seeking to enter it? Will they be able to gain practical experience on top of their qualification or degree? Or are they in need of complementary business skills that they haven’t necessarily had experience in?
Even if you’re just looking for a general helper, you will still need to put some thought into making sure that the internship is a training opportunity. That may even require you to rethink some of your ways of working. Once you’ve gone through the process to select an intern you may need to devise tasks that are designed to give the successful applicant the learning experience that they’ve signed up for.
You absolutely have to put in the effort to give your interns something to take away with them. One thing you’ll have to give them is your time. To start with, that means taking the time to show them the ropes and introducing them to your business and your business philosophy.
It also means putting effort into giving interns quality feedback. The intern’s goal is to upgrade and extend an existing skill-set. The only way this will happen is if you assess them and tell them what they’re doing right and wrong. To keep the learning process going, consider giving them new tasks and fresh challenges if and when they’ve mastered one area of work.
In short, interns aren’t for free, even if they aren’t working for cash. You need to give interns your time, your expertise, and your insights into their strengths and weaknesses. Get it right and there’s something valuable in it for everyone.
Deanna Maio, The Intern Expert, teaches small business owners how to grow their business significantly while still having time to live a great life. For FREE tips on how to work with interns successfully to grow your business, visit http://www.GetFreeHelpWithInterns.com/