It’s not easy managing interns. Having them in your company could both be a joyful and painful experience. Joyful, if they are easy to deal with, painful if they prove to be distracting and destructive.
But before you scrap your company’s internship program and opt to hire a full-time employee right away, here are some tips that would help you be a great boss to your (future).
1. Prepare in advance.
One of the biggest mistakes a boss could do is not prepare for his incoming interns. Just because you’re a boss does not mean you can just wing it. Okay, maybe you can but isn’t it better if you’re ready once the intern comes in? Before the trainee sets foot in your office, create a job description that would outline his daily tasks, find a space where he could situate himself for the duration of the internship and list down goals expected of him. While it’s a lot easier to just whip up something as time goes by, and yes you may do that on certain instances, coming up with a standard plan gives you more credibility as a superior and also becomes the basis for his performance’s evaluation.
2. Be welcoming.
Since we’re not in the movie Devil Wears Prada, I highly suggest that you keep the urge to be hostile and make your interns feel welcome. In the first few days of the internship, spend time with them to orient them on rules, dos and do-nots and introduce them to other colleagues. This is the best opportunity to know your interns’ goals and expectations. It is also a great way to give him a great impression of your company, whom you as a boss, represent.
3. Check-in regularly.
And by regularly, I don’t mean every 30 minutes or so. Schedule a time to meet with your intern as his days progress in the office. Not only will it give you time to track his progress, it would also make your intern feel important and not neglected (which happens).
4. Assign meaningful and useful tasks.
While administrative tasks such as photocopying and database updating could not be avoided, kindly make sure that other tasks are assigned to your interns apart from that. Doing those things would not add much valuable experience that he needs. Include him in meetings, engage him in dialogue and ask for his suggestions on certain topics you think might interest him regarding work. This is also the best time to find tasks he can do that is related to his goals and expectations. You never know, you might just unearth a new creative genius in him.
Also, buying lunch may be meaningful to you as you do need to it, but it is not for your intern. Don’t ask him to do personal errands, as he is an intern, not your servant.
5. Be a mentor.
Interns are often looking for someone they can aspire to be and you could be that person they could learn a lot from. Don’t just bark out orders or hand out to-do checklists to your interns, you are not a drill sergeant. Share a knowledge that you think would help him in his work and be valuable. Be someone they can learn from. In the end, not only do you give value added knowledge to the interns, you also learn how to be an effective boss in the process.