How To Manage Interns

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Internships can provide passionate, hardworking young professionals a chance to gain work experience they can list on their resume. If you're tasked with managing a team of interns, you can benefit from researching ways to make the internship more successful. Learning about managing interns can help you create an internship experience that is equally valuable for interns and a company.

In this article, we explain the importance of effective intern management, outline the steps to manage interns and offer tips for managing interns.

Read more: How to Hire an Intern

Why is it important to effectively manage interns?

It's important to manage interns effectively because the internship experience can be just as valuable for a company as it can be for the interns. Effective management can add value to the internship experience for both parties. Companies benefit from internships because interns can bring hard work, new talents and innovative ideas to a company's processes. Interns benefit from the work experience that an internship provides.

How to manage interns

Here are some steps you can take to manage interns:

1. Prepare for internships

The week before the internship begins, you can email interns basic information about when to arrive, where to park and a brief schedule of what they'll be doing on the first day as interns. You can add a link to company dress code policies and other helpful resources to help them prepare for the internship.

You can also prepare training materials and tasks interns can complete during the first week of work. This way, interns will have work to do as they acclimate to the company.

2. Provide training

Training is the first step to successful intern management. Well-informed interns can ask better questions and perform tasks with fewer errors if they know your procedures and expectations from training. You can provide information on pay, expectations and duties in the early days of an internship so interns are aware of the work you want them to complete.

Read more: 7 Ways To Find Qualified Interns for Your Team

3. Introduce interns to the team

Introducing interns to everyone in your workplace gives them an opportunity to learn more about your company's workflows and processes. This can also help them understand who to approach about projects and tasks. It also gives interns an opportunity to network with other employees.

4. Set goals

Once interns have received training and met the team, you can ask them to voice their goals for the internship. For example, an intern for an engineering firm might have a goal of assisting with the design and creation of a new machine.

You can also set attainable 30-day, 60-day and 90-day goals for interns to give them a clear understanding of your expectations. The engineering intern might have a 30-day goal of creating a machine design, a 60-day goal of prototyping and troubleshooting the design and a 90-day goal of building a successful machine.

5. Assign tasks

Next, you can assign interns tasks to complete based on their goals. Many internships can involve fetching coffee and performing administrative tasks, but an intern won't learn as much from making copies as they will from performing tasks that are more closely related to their career goals.

Assigning tasks is a way to guide interns while still allowing them to work independently. You can communicate who the interns should approach with questions they have while completing each task.

6. Review performance

A performance review can be just as valuable to interns as the work experience they gain through an internship. You can review their performance and offer recommendations at the 30-day, 60-day and 90-day benchmarks. Here are some things you can include in a performance review for an intern:

  • Quality: You can communicate the quality of an intern's work and help them set goals to improve the quality of their work.

  • Accuracy: Another way to review interns is to rate the accuracy of their work.

  • Recommendations: You can offer interns recommendations on ways they can improve the quality and accuracy of their work.

7. Keep in touch

When an internship ends, you can connect with interns on professional networking websites and encourage them to communicate with you about their professional development. You can offer to write interns letters of recommendation for future employers or even to look over their resumes. You can also provide tips to help them get jobs in your industry.

Tips for managing interns

Here is some useful advice you can use to manage interns:

Invite interns to lunch

You can invite interns to join you for lunch during the first week of an internship. This can help make the internship experience more enjoyable and allow you to get to know each other better. If there are multiple interns at your company, inviting them all to lunch also gives them the opportunity to learn about each other.

Check in regularly

Scheduling regular check-ins can give interns the opportunity to ask questions that can help them perform their tasks better. It can also allow you to get a sense of their confidence level and guide them through any confusion.

Regularly checking in with interns can show them that approachable, which can encourage interns to ask more questions and model your professional behavior.

Pay interns fairly

Unpaid internships are common in the U.S., but compensating interns for their time and labor can have numerous benefits to the internship experience. Whether an intern is working part-time or full-time, paying interns can encourage them to apply more effort to their duties. Offering pay can also help you create a more competitive internship process and hire more talented interns.

Read more: Do Interns Get Paid?

Assign a project

One way to add value to an internship is to assign a project for interns to complete over the course of their internship. For example, interns at a newspaper can work together on a series of stories on a subject that affects the local community. Assigning a project can give interns tangible career experience that can help them get jobs in the field. Additionally, it can give a company a means to measure the success of its internship program.

Offer opportunities for permanent positions

High-performing interns can be a valuable asset to a company beyond the term of an internship. Companies may not be able to offer permanent positions for every qualified intern, but there are numerous advantages to hiring talented interns to more permanent positions:

  • Less training: Interns may not need as much training as a new employee, as their internship often provides adequate training to perform a job's duties.

  • More motivation: Former interns hired to full-time positions often use their internship to demonstrate their motivation and hardworking attitude.

  • More talent: Companies that hire former interns can create a pipeline of talented professionals who show their competencies through an internship and are ready for hiring when the internship is complete.

Help interns network

An internship can be a valuable experience that interns can list on their resume to help them find more permanent employment. You can increase the value of this experience by providing interns with networking opportunities. For example, you can invite interns to networking events and business lunches that can help them make professional connections.

Recognize teachable moments

It's helpful to remember that internships often expose interns to new processes, knowledge and ideas. You can help interns learn more from the experience by asking whether they're familiar with certain tasks and explaining new concepts. Recognizing through the internship experience.

Mentor interns

Mentoring is a leadership skill that can allow you to impart your wisdom and help interns develop their abilities. Here are some strategies for mentoring interns:

  • Celebrate their achievements. While it's important to point out ways interns can improve, it's also valuable to celebrate their achievements to promote a positive work environment.

  • Share your experiences. You can talk about what you've learned in your career to advise interns on their career growth.

  • Provide growth opportunities. You can provide chances for interns to learn new things as a mentor. Examples of growth opportunities for interns can include inviting them to attend presentations or job shadowing in different areas of an organization.

Read more: How To Be a Good Mentor

Keep feedback constructive

If an intern makes a mistake, it's important to provide supportive feedback. This can help them understand how to do the task correctly in the future, which promotes productivity. Correcting mistakes is also a good opportunity to remind interns you're available to answer their questions.

Explain the overarching reasons for processes

Sometimes, a work task or process doesn't make sense until you understand the reason behind it. You can explain to interns how their tasks aid the company's larger processes. This can help interns understand their roles better, grow a passion for the industry and instill a sense of ownership over their tasks.

Explore more articles