Create a Meaningful Summer Internship


When summer internships go well, both the intern and the company get something valuable they couldn’t have found anywhere else.  When they go poorly, everyone’s time is wasted and the office is often disrupted. If you are thinking of setting up a summer internship program and you want it to succeed from year one, follow these steps:

  1. Learn About Internships – You may know less about internships than you realize. Spend some time researching what is involved, what companies in your industry offer opportunities, and what today’s interns are looking for.
  2. Evaluate Internally – Determine what your company actually needs from the intern(s) you select. What department will they work in, what responsibilities will they have, and how will you create value for those chosen?
  3. Study the Law – Every state has different laws that apply to intern employment. Before you start your program, be sure to brush up on how employment, safety, sexual harassment, and termination laws will affect your program.
  4. Get Everyone on Board – For an internship to be a meaningful experience, everyone in your company needs to be in support of the program or the interns won’t feel welcome or valued.
  5. Structure the Program – Determine how the program will actually work, from the schedule, to the responsibilities, to the goals, to the training necessary. This is typically the biggest step.
  6. Consider Compensation – Will you offer your interns a salary or some other perk? Keep in mind that it’s only between the intern and their school whether or not they earn college credit.
  7. Advertise for Interns – Once you have the details of your summer internship program completely ironed out, it’s time to find the interns themselves. There are a number of sites and job boards that invite postings, but you should also contact colleges and universities in your area.
  8. Evaluate Your Candidates – If interns are going to make a meaningful contribution, they need to have a particular skill set. Determine what that is and then single out the candidates who impress you.
  9. Interview and Select – Never hire an intern without meeting them first. Once you find a candidate(s) you like, start the process that you developed in step 5.
  10. Follow Through – Interns are young, inexperienced, and often nervous. Make sure they have the support and supervision they need throughout the summer.

Starting a summer internship program is a great way to connect with the top talent of the future. Many companies found their best performers before they ever left college. If you’re looking for other creative recruitment strategies from one of the top staffing agencies in Pittsburgh, contact the team at JH Technical Services.

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