Posts tagged ‘internship program’

Q. How can I tell my intern that he/she is talking too much to co-workers or exhibiting unprofessional behavior?

by the Intern Coach

A. You’ll be doing your interns a big favor by mentoring their business protocol. Most interns are comfortable in college dorm settings or in social situations with peers, but are inexperienced on professional behavior. Here’s are some suggestions to help them adjust to their new environment:

  • Whatever the issue, tactfully discuss it with your intern in private as to not embarrass them in front of co-workers. Preface your talk with a positive comment such as, “You’re off to a good start here,” or, “Your work is excellent, but there’s one way in which you could improve.”
  • Handle each issue separately. For example, if your intern is spending too much time talking to co-workers, explain that everyone enjoys talking to them, but too much talk is distracting and cuts into completing work on time. Suggest that your intern curtail office chat and arrange to continue conversations over lunch or after work. Building a social network is usually done off the company time clock.
  • Reinforce the idea that your intern has your support, creating a bond between yourself and your intern. Your intern will take well to your comments if he or she feels that you are trying to help them be more successful.
  • If your intern has a questionable habit, like loudly chewing gum or patting everyone on the back, or makes inappropriate office jokes, point out the intern’s errors. If possible, use the company rules and regulations handbook to support your comments, which will take the pressure off of you. The handbook takes the sting out of your constructive criticism because it relies on pointing on the standards for everyone.
  • When you try to restructure a negative behavior, make sure you balance your comments with statements on the intern’s positive behavior. And please don’t ask a co-worker to correct an intern’s inappropriate behavior. You’re the best person to resolve this sensitive problem.

May 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

Internship opportunities that become full-time positions

by Paul Sevcik

Many questions swirl about when considering moving an intern to a full-time hire.  After looking at your budget and seeing that there is room to grow the team, you might still have questions.  For example:

1.       Will the intern make a positive contribution to our team if we hire them? (think ‘ROI’)

2.       Do we have the room to fit them into our current processes? (think ‘team’)

3.       Are they actually interested in working for us? (think ‘interest’)

None of these questions are easy to answer because they’re multi-faceted and probably involve more than one person’s input.  Here is a real-life example from our office:  

After we had an intern candidate go through our screening process, we invited her for an interview and learned that she was interested in international work and that she was fantastic at keeping things organized.  We started by having her attend our in-house training on Role-Based Assessment and becoming officially certified in it. 

We then started her on work in translations we desperately needed (she was strong in a particular language we were looking to grow support in).  Over her three months in the internship, we eventually transitioned her to communicate directly with our clients in that market.  Additionally, she attended all our company meetings and built strong relationships with each person at the office.

As a result of her escalating responsibility and commitment, we gave her more tasks involving keeping the employees at our rapidly-developing startup organized.  We soon saw her as indispensible and every employee was benefiting from her contributions.  The value she brought to the company was clear and losing her was not in our best interest.  Over several conversations, we made her an offer and were happy to see her accept.

Today, this intern is employed full-time at The Gabriel Institute doing work she enjoys.  The transition was pretty simple and just involved official paperwork because she already had a strong foundation in what we do.

Jenny is not the only example of a successful connection through TGI.  We do not close relationships with our interns just because their calendar time with us has ended.  They remain in contact with us as developments happen.  They may not receive our top-secret day-to-day insider news, but are included on all ‘partner’ communications that create excitement about the company.  This may lead them to return to us later as other full-time hires.  After all, if they were good enough to hire once and made positive contributions during their time with us, why not invite them back?

Each organization is unique and their particular situation is different, but ROI, teaming, and interest from the intern are all important to consider!

May 4, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Mario: sixteen years after graduation

by Miguel Corona

One of the most gratifying jobs I’ve had over the course of my career was my time working at the career center at the University of Texas at El Paso. Being responsible for the University’s cooperative education and internship programs and helping college students gain their first professional experiences provided me with a lot of personal satisfaction. During the almost five years of working in that setting, I had the pleasure of seeing many of these same students return to campus as company representatives to recruit the next generation of UTEP graduates. Along the way, I was able to make lifelong friendships with many of these students, first as interns and later as professionals. One friend in particular is Mario, who is now a successful leader at an aviation company.

Sixteen years ago, Mario’s first major in college was marketing. In fact, his first internship experience as a sophomore was working in the marketing department for a large insurance company. When Mario returned, I realized his internship experience had not met his expectations. The root of Mario’s unhappiness wasn’t due to the work he did, but more so due to the work he didn’t do. Mario realized his passion wasn’t in marketing but in information systems. Luckily for Mario, his supervisor during the internship was also technically inclined so he introduced Mario to areas in the organization where he could begin to learn about his newly discovered passion. Needless to say, Mario switched his major to information systems, went on to complete another two internships in his new major, and today is still very passionate about his work.  

One appealing aspect of an internship program is its ability to serve as a bridge between the world of theory and practicality. However, the bridge that connects both worlds also needs to have a support structure. Within an internship program, “the glue” that holds together this support is an intern’s supervisor. And while a supervisor’s role is to offer an intern guidance and direction in a work environment, another role should be one of an advisor. Mario often points to that one supervisor, from 16 years ago, as having made a significant impact on his career. From a Hispanic perspective, being an advisor or consejero is an important element of the supervisor/intern relationship. Hispanics are a determined people and are culturally wired to complete one task before starting another. Hence, changing his major after two years of college was not something that came naturally to Mario. Whether Mario’s supervisor at the time knew it or not, his timely advice made the difference between a successful professional and someone that might still be searching for his passion.

April 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

Fully tap Hispanic professional organizations

by Miguel Corona

I’m often asked by clients what Hispanic professional organizations serve as good resources for employers. Although there is no shortage of exceptional Hispanic professional organizations, I wanted to share information on a few organizations that I’ve worked with over the years that can provide a variety of help. While many of these Hispanic professional organizations are often utilized to help recruit Hispanic college graduates, many of these same organizations can also offer employers excellent support once Hispanic interns are brought on board. Employers can benefit by partnering with these organizations to provide networking, training, and workshop opportunities for their interns and other employees. They can provide management advice as well as internship program suggestions. If you have a Hispanic professional organization to recommend, please share it!

Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA): As the leading professional organization for Hispanics in the finance and accounting fields, ALPFA is an exceptional resource for employers in this area. ALPFA local chapters offer workshops and symposiums in partnership with other organizations on topics related to Hispanics in this industry.

Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE): Serving as a link between Hispanic professionals and organizations, HACE provides employers with a variety of helpful programs aimed at educating organizations in the areas of diversity, mentoring, and internship programs. HACE also provides great informational workshops on research regarding Hispanics in the workforce.

National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA): The premier Hispanic organization supporting Hispanic MBAs, NSHMBA’s mission is to improve Hispanic corporate executive representation. It does this by providing education, professional and leadership development through 32 local chapters around the United States.

Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Associations (LISTA): This organization is focused on supporting Latinos and employers in the science, mathematics, information sciences, new media, telecommunications, and technology fields. LISTA councils around the United States provide information and trends regarding Hispanics in the technology and science fields.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE): As a leading organization supporting Hispanics entering engineering, science and other technical professions, SHPE offers both interns and employers numerous resources. Through its Industrial Partner Council (IPC), SHPE partners with employers on ways to increase the representation of Hispanics in the engineering and science fields.

April 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm 1 comment

Consider appointing an Intern Manager

by writer

Are you committed to having an intern at your company this summer? Consider selecting a junior employee to be the Intern Manager. Be sure to choose an employee who has great people skills and would be a positive mentor to an intern. This move, selecting an Intern Manager is a positive on many levels. It puts a system in place for welcoming and mentoring interns, it frees senior managers for other assignments, and it’s an honor for the junior employee who is selected to take the role of Intern Manager. Below are a few tips:

1.   Appoint one junior employee to be in charge of interns as Intern Manager and point of contact and to mentor and monitor intern performance.. The junior employee also increases the intern’s comfort level since the intern will enjoy working with a younger employee closer to his or her own age.

2.   Allow your Intern Manager time in his/her schedule to coordinate each intern’s schedule with the appropriate manager. Arrange for the intern to spend a certain amount of time either daily or weekly with the Intern Manager to review progress. Establish a clear chain of command, ensuring that your employees know if they have any concerns about the intern, they can get help from the Intern Manager.  

3.   Send a broadcast email to your employee distribution list that announces the intern, gives a sentence or two about him/her, and asks staff to extend a warm welcome. On the day that the intern starts, the Intern Manager should take the intern on a tour and introduce the new member to individual staff.

4.   Arrange for the Intern Manager to meet with the intern on Day #1 and discuss expectations and outcomes on both sides. Set the intern up to succeed by starting with small projects and graduating to more complicated and lengthy assignments.

April 3, 2010 at 12:21 am 1 comment

Giving back to your community through an internship program

There is no question that internships are of great benefit to both employers and students. Students get first-hand practical knowledge in their area of study in a professional setting and employers have a low risk and low cost opportunity to recruit and evaluate prospective employees. And while the potential benefits to both students and organizations are powerful incentives to establish an internship program, there is a major benefit that is often overlooked resulting from this relationship: the positive impact on the community. In many respects, internship programs provide communities with a vehicle to improve their ability to manage and compete in an increasingly global economic environment. Consider the following ways internship programs can potentially give back to the local community:

Decreasing the “Brain Drain”: An internship program can significantly influence an intern’s perspective of a given community or region. Internship programs can help encourage local college graduates to stay within their community or region after graduation; hence, decreasing the chances of valuable talent leaving the area and positively impacting the local economy.

Serving as a Workforce “Sounding Board”: There is sometimes a “disconnect” between education and business. By hiring interns from local colleges and universities, internship programs serve as a channel for educational institutions to assure academic programs are being responsive to the needs of industry. Interns serve as valuable ambassadors of information back to their colleges.  

Serving as a Business/Community Link: Internship programs provide a vital bridge between business, education, and the community. Local communities can potentially thrive from an infusion of motivated and skilled workers that also become involved members of society. In addition, communities can possibly benefit from exposure to new ideas that permeate from projects, research, or other internship program activities. 

Building College Networks: Given that employers will most likely recruit interns from various colleges in the area, internship programs provide a foundation to build worthwhile college networks or collaboratives. Network opportunities among area colleges anchored by a common employer can strengthen local economic development initiatives.  

Creating Partnership and Research Opportunities: Internship programs provide an opportunity for organizations to support an essential local issue or project. By assigning interns to these types of initiatives, organizations provide local communities much needed resources, time, and inventiveness. 

Enhancing School Reputations: A high-caliber internship program can help support local college and university recruitment efforts. Internship programs can serve as a major factor in attracting potential college students to the local area, particularly if a college is challenged by dwindling enrollment.

March 31, 2010 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

Getting your company ready for a summer intern

by writer

Use these tips as you are planning for summer interns:

  • Survey your company, asking departments if they want interns, what skill sets, and how many interns they need. Some departments find interns useful and others may not.
  • Prepare a description of internship duties and email it to the incoming intern (in advance if you can) for review, answering any questions ahead of time to prevent confusion. Make sure the intern has an Intern Packet with appropriate materials before the start date. The Intern Packet should contain company policy information as well as forms to track intern activity.
  • Assign interns to areas that may need a full-time employee in the near future, using the internship to “test the waters” with candidates that you might later hire. Be sure to ask employees in those areas for their evaluations on each intern’s performance.
  • Ensure that the intern has a desk and proper supplies so he/she can begin productive work immediately. A more senior intern—if available—may want to have a short meeting with the new intern to talk about office procedures or to explain the computer system or any unfamiliar technology systems. Utilize current interns to train incoming interns, reducing staff time with interns and facilitating employees to fulfill work objectives.
  • Consider rotating interns to cover areas left vacant as employees take summer vacations. Suggest that the departing employee give the intern an orientation on what to do to reduce the workload on the remaining staff. Although the intern may only be able to perform basic duties, the department will appreciate the additional help.
  • Reward an unpaid intern in various ways. If your company has a cafeteria, give the intern a pass that enables him/her to eat for free on working days. Take the intern to a professional meeting as your guest, paying for his/her lunch and introducing him to other professionals. Give a gift certificate at the end of the internship as well as a written letter of recommendation. Current interns may refer future interns to your organization, and you can be sure students share information about their experiences. Make sure everyone wants to intern at your company, so you have a wide selection of excellent applicants.

March 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm 2 comments

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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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