Summer internship programs are a great way to attract young talent and filter through it to find the star performers. It’s low risk because you can essentially “try before you buy”. And it’s a good tool for recruitment marketing: give your interns a great experience and they’ll spread the word about how amazing your company is.
A good summer internship offers a variety of projects to help you and your interns work out what their strengths are and where their interests lie. If you’re smart, you’ll also use this time to get to track their soft skills, attitudes and work ethic.
How to structure summer internship programs
The goal is to have your interns working on real projects that full-time employees might take on. This not only gives the interns a more realistic idea of the job and the speed and quality required of them, it (hopefully) also lessens the load on your real employees just a little.
When planning your internship program, try to include:
- A practical onboarding process to help your interns become self-sufficient (after this you will also be better able to see which of the interns are more proactive than others).
- A good mix of long-term and short-term assigns. This will help you learn how they manage under pressure and whether they can manage their time well.
- The opportunity for interns to select some of their own assignments. This is a good indicator of their interests, as well as their ability to put themselves out of their own comfort zones.
- A mix of individual and team projects, to see how they prefer to work and to gauge their team work, leadership and communication skills.
Important traits to look for
It’s a good idea to brief the people working with your interns so that you are all evaluating each intern fairly.
Here are some traits you can evaluate:
- Attention to detail
- Initiative and proactiveness
- Willingness to learn
- Time management
- Communication skills
- Culture fit
How to gather objective feedback
You want your evaluation of each intern to be fair and objective. A summer intern program management tool will enable you to request and analyse feedback from all the people who work with your interns, including their mentors, project leaders and other team members.
You can also use this tool to request feedback from your interns. Why not give them the opportunity to tell you what they loved or hated about your program, where they see themselves in the future, and what they have learned?
About vi’s summer intern management software module
vi’s summer intern management software module is an easy-to-use tool that integrates with your existing software to help you automate your program.
You can instantly assign projects to interns or have them select the ‘gigs’ that appeal to them. It’s real-time feedback feature allows you to request feedback from your team, which is then stored and analysed for you. You can review the results and progress of all summer interns and assignments in a great-looking visual dashboard.
All of this will make it much easier to work out who might want to offer full-time employment after graduation.