HR & Management

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8 ways to get the best out of interns

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I have to confess that I am a huge fan of internships. I actually began my career interning for MTV while at university, which was later followed by six glorious years with the company. 

Now as an employer at my own company The Dots – a professional networking platform for the creative industries – I can see the enormous value they offer both employer and individual.

For a junior starting out in the world of work, an internship is an amazing opportunity to get real world experience, build up a portfolio of work and make contacts that can last a lifetime.

For employers, it’s not only a wonderful chance to give back to the industry, and help shape the seniors of tomorrow; it’s also a chance to learn. 

Don’t underestimate what juniors can bring to the table. Their minds are fertile with new ideas and skills; you’ll be surprised how quickly they can teach an old dog new tricks… and who doesn’t want to try before you buy?

So, if you’re thinking of hiring an intern, below are some tips to help you along the way.

Top tips for getting the most out of interns:

1. Clearly define the role
There’s nothing worse than a disgruntled and disengaged intern, so make sure you clearly define the role, responsibilities and working hours, so they know what to expect. Also, try to mix up the more mundane tasks with meatier projects they can sink their teeth into. In the end, finding staff is never easy, so the more people who get excited about joining the industry due to a positive internship experience, the better.

2. Induction meeting 
Spend time with your intern when he or she arrives and take them through their roles and responsibilities – but, more importantly, engage with them and find out what they would like to get out of the internship. If they have a specific area they’re passionate about, then try to bring this into their role.

3. Orientation
Introduce your intern to the team, talk them through the role of each department and let them know the dos and don’ts of the office. Remember, many interns have never worked in an office environment before, so what may seem obvious to you, is a whole new world to them. It’s amazing how many interns I’ve hired who didn’t know how to create and manage a simple to do list for example. 

4. Assign a mentor 
Having a key point of contact for your intern is essential. Interns need someone to report to regularly – weekly if not daily, catch-ups are a must. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity for your intern, it’s a great opportunity for the mentor to build their management skills, and share their knowledge and professionalism.

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