Skip to content now.

Turning Interns Into Employees

Nov 14, 2011 / Human Resources / Trackback

Your next great employee could be the kid in the cor­ner fil­ing papers as part of his intern­ship. The prob­lem is, youll never know his poten­tial if he spends entire time at your com­pany per­form­ing menial tasks. Interns can be an incred­i­ble resource when used properly.

How interns are han­dled and treated dur­ing an intern­ship will often deter­mine whether they come back seek­ing a job after grad­u­a­tion. Sim­i­larly, how well a com­pany trains their interns can have a huge effect on the interns hir­ing poten­tial within the com­pany. Why not take make the most out of your com­pa­nys intern­ship pro­gram and use it as an oppor­tu­nity to find your next star?

Reach out early

Pro­fes­sional sport teams often begin scout­ing high school stu­dents. Even if they dont intend to hire them right away, they are aware of the future poten­tial. If a qual­i­fied high school stu­dent has an inter­est in the type of busi­ness you run, why not have him or her come in once or twice a week and learn about what goes on in the com­pany? Instead of lim­it­ing col­lege intern­ships to a spe­cific year, con­sider allow­ing fresh­men to par­tic­i­pate. Reach­ing out early will give you the oppor­tu­nity to really develop your interns. By the time that they grad­u­ate, you will know how to best uti­lize them as an employee.

Cul­ti­vate relationships

A com­pany is only as suc­cess­ful as the employ­ees who work for it. Build­ing rela­tion­ships with your interns will help make them feel vested in the com­pany. Make an effort to speak with interns and lis­ten to what they have to say. Ask for their ideas on the work thats being done. Assign them real tasks so you can see what they are capa­ble of. Give interns a chance to work on projects that excite them, such as social media imple­men­ta­tion. The more that you put into your interns, the bet­ter suited they will be for employment.

When the intern­ship ends, interns will remem­ber how they were treated. If an intern has a bad expe­ri­ence, they will tell their friends. More­over, many uni­ver­si­ties ask their stu­dents to pro­vide feed­back after an intern­ship. Neg­a­tive intern­ship pro­grams can make a com­pany look unpro­fes­sional. The best grad­u­ates want to work for the best com­pa­nies, so a bad rep­u­ta­tion can seri­ously hurt a com­pa­nys recruit­ing efforts.

Build a solid intern­ship program

An intern­ship pro­gram that seeks to teach interns vital career-related skills will be far more suc­cess­ful and enrich­ing for every­one involved. Con­sider the intern­ship as a train­ing period. Treat and train the intern like you would a new hire. Give them the tools they need to become an asset to your company.

Try intro­duc­ing interns to dif­fer­ent facets of the busi­ness. This will allow them see what works best for them while max­i­miz­ing their hir­ing poten­tial. Not only does this help enrich the interns expe­ri­ence, but it also allows you to see how ver­sa­tile the interns skill set is.

Intern­ships should be fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­ni­ties for the intern and employer alike. The intern should leave the expe­ri­ence with new abil­i­ties and a larger net­work. The employer should end up with a strong poten­tial can­di­date that is well-versed on the com­pany. Hav­ing some­one fetch your cof­fee is nice, but mold­ing some­one into the per­fect employee is even nicer.

Today’s guest post is by Erin Palmer of Bisk Edu­ca­tion |Vil­lanova Uni­ver­si­tys online pro­grams. If youre inter­ested in a Mas­ters in Human Resources degree, Vil­lanova offers this pro­gram 100% online in addi­tion to a human resources cer­ti­fi­ca­tion train­ing pro­gram. You can fol­low Erin at@Erin_E_Palmer.

P.S. Note from Karla — In the photo is Cather­ine Kline, who interned with me the sum­mer of 2011 in HR & Work­force Devel­op­ment. She got an A+.