Tips for Intern References

August 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

As an employer, one of your responsibilities is to write references not only for your employees but also for your interns. References for interns work different ways. Some schools provide you with a reference form, so all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Other schools let it up to you to produce a reference, which means that your company or HR department can generate its own intern reference form. Or you may prefer to write an individual letter for each intern. Also, you can combine the two—a completed evaluation form for the intern accompanied by a customized letter from the internship supervisor.

Whatever form you choose, there are a few guidelines. First, it’s most impressive to write a letter on company letterhead. If the student has performed exceptionally well in the internship, you might want to give your cell phone number or email address, enabling a potential internship supervisor to call you to check references for your former intern.

But if an intern has performed below expectations, then you have a dilemma. You might not want to mention the negative aspects because the student could have been experiencing personal problems. A bad reference at this early point in a young person’s career could have long-term ramifications. You might want to use discretion and search for something positive to say about the intern’s role in the company. However, if a friend is considering taking on your former intern and wants your honest opinion, you could indicate that you had some issues. In this case, you’ll feel better in being honest rather than misleading your friend.

Multiple references can work if a student intern has rotated throughout the company. Different department heads might like to write references, giving a broader picture of the intern’s achievements. Encourage your employees to finish their reference letters before the student leaves the internship, ensuring that he/she receives proper credit in a timely manner.

Entry filed under: Internship wrap-up.

As a small business, how can we make sure we meet the right candidates out of all our internship applicants? We’re hiring fall interns — what are the key tips for interviewing interns?

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This blog is dedicated to employers with a focus on how to hire and manage interns effectively. We will have a variety of experts who will share helpful ideas, tips and more. We invite you to comment, ask questions and share your experiences. You are also welcome to submit written contributions to this blog.

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