‘So you’re having an intern?’

Much like many guides that help you nurture a life in this world, this will help you navigate the scary world of having an intern. Our top 5 tips:

  1. THEY AREN’T ALWAYS GREAT AT MAKING COFFEE

Such a myth. But alas! Do not worry! Your intern has joined you for much more insight than fetching coffee and photocopying, and there’s usually someone else around who’s capable of handling a kettle. You should have an introductory meeting with them on the day they arrive or prior to their first day. Ask them their interests, what their career goals are, and what they consider to be their most and least developed skills. Interns who come to us are given skill based tasks, with opportunities to develop – and I’ve learnt a fair bit from them too in the past! Interns are often fresh to the scene, with original and out of the box ideas. A fresh pair of eyes could be just what you need on a dreary Monday.

  1. GOALS ARE KEY TO DEVELOPMENT

Setting interns daily tasks allows you to see if they are struggling and how realistic requests are. Some tasks could take you less than an hour usually, but for a beginner thrown in at the deep end it could take much longer. Be aware that they may not be asking for the help they need.

  1. SHADOWING IS TRUE INSIGHT

Interns are often either ready for the start of their industry journey or in the throws of study anticipating what to apply for in a year or so. This is a great opportunity for them to see how industry works and how different it can be from set modules in education. Deadlines move faster, accountability is recorded, and often the scariest part is that clients are real life humans – not hypothetic brands in a paper brief. Allow them to watch the process from initial contact with a client and through the development. If they’re around long enough they could also see the results and client reaction. Giving interns small tasks within real projects allows them to build confidence and add to their portfolio when they leave.

  1. VARY TASKS AND ENVIRONMENT

They are very often new to industry and may not know exactly what their eventual career goal is. Many interns I have worked with and students I have met are unaware of many more specific roles. A few years ago a social media role covered what now could be a whole dedicated department. The industry has evolved to create positions like Content Creators, Facebook Strategists, Influencer Outreach and much more. Dipping their toe into as many departments in your company as possible let’s them see what could be of interest in the future. They also get to experience the part everyone plays in your company, demonstrating process and the importance of communication.

  1. A TAKEAWAY IS INVALUABLE

Leaving with much more than a thanks and a handshake is great for future recommendations. We offer interns who come to work with us a few things to take away with them after their placement is complete. They can choose some or all routes of development. Offering to help them set up a LinkedIn or to develop one they have can be a crucial move for new starters. All the work they have completed during their time here is recorded and they are de-briefed on how they found each task. Pieces of work or project elements they have made can become part of a portfolio to take to future interviews and it can be helpful to show them how to put this together. They may need support creating a CV or may benefit from someone in HR looking through this to feedback notes for improvement.

As far as interns and placements go, you really do get out what you put in.

August 1, 2017 - This article was written by Becca Sharples

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