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a different perspective on human capital

The Employer’s Guidebook to a Successful Internship Program


As May rolls around college students everywhere are looking for that great internship opportunity this summer. As an employer, an intern can be a great low-cost way of adding value to your company. It also gives you a chance to convert a great prospect into an eventual full-time employee and train them from the very beginning.

However, a primary concern many employers face is whether or not they will be able to effectively manage their interns and assign them work that will not be a waste of time for all involved. Luckily, many experts have weighed in on this subject and there are plenty of great tips to turn your internship program into one of great benefit. Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Assign your intern one single manager: Students can accomplish big goals with the correct guidance. The easiest way to do this is assign them a one-on-one manager in your company who enjoys working with students.
  • Make sure your intern has at least one dedicated project: Instead of giving your intern various random tasks that won’t add up to much, give them an overreaching project. This gives them focus and lets them know they will actually be adding value to the company in the end.
  • Encourage your intern to ask questions: Treat your intern as any other employee. Allow them to be a part of meetings and have an open-door policy for them to ask questions. They will be much more willing to work harder for you when they know you care about what they are doing and want them to succeed.
  • Be honest about job opportunities within the company: Many students take on internships in the hopes they will be offered a full-time job with the company upon graduation. If you know this isn’t possible let them know up-front. However, let them know that the experience and connections they will make from working with you will give them a better chance of getting their dream job. Always take an interest in their career because that is the reason they are giving their time to you.
  • Get to know your intern: This could be your intern’s first taste of the professional world. Make it a great experience by including them in lunches, have weekly meetings and check-in with them often on how they are feeling.

Here at Treehouse Partners our internship program is a large part of our business. We have had much success with bringing in students from local universities to enrich their resume and add value to our company. We have utilized many of the tips above, especially getting to know our interns. We always include our interns on ice cream breaks, lunches and meetings in order to make them feel like part of the team!