We have a bunch of shiny new faces here at TECHEAD – our summer interns are in the house! We believe that we learn as much from our interns as they learn while working here. They bring fresh eyes and new perspectives to issues we deal with daily, and to projects that we couldn’t do without them.
We learn. They learn. It’s the best of all possible outcomes.
One of the best reasons to have an internship program in your business is this:
Interns can make killer employees
By turning your internship program into a “find great teammates” program, you will attract the best and the brightest of this new crop of talent.
Here’s our tip sheet for creating a great summer internship program for your company:
#1: the best things in life are NOT free
Pay your interns. It’s that simple. You don’t have to pay them $100/hour, but you must pay them something.
#2: plan ahead
Don’t just plan to hire a few interns. Plan the project(s) you would like their help with, and structure those projects to make them both attractive and attainable. Give your shiny new talent some real meat to chew on, not just busy-work.
#3: give your interns some autonomy
Usual-suspects thinking doesn’t lead to new discoveries. You don’t have to give your interns free rein to do whatever they want, but you can give them an end goal and then let them draw their own map to the destination. Give them the problem, and then stand back and let them show you how they’d solve it. You’ll be amazed at how smart they can be.
#4: ask them to think about your business
While your interns are working in your shop, ask them for their ideas for your business. What would they do differently? What opportunities do they see that you’re not taking advantage of? You can turn this into a weekly challenge. If you’ve having trouble with a client or a project, let your interns weigh in with their solutions. Whoever comes up with the idea you go with wins something, like a Starbucks gift card. Teach them strategy, you’ll reap big rewards.
We’ve added great people to our team using this approach to our summer internship program. You have any ideas you’d like to share?