Internships are a funny thing. For students just entering college, the core priorities are getting into their dream school, getting into the right classes, picking the right major and making the grades to materialize their future careers.
Employers see things a little bit differently in that, when asked what they deem most important in recent graduates, they tend to downplay the factors we just mentioned.
Internships: What Really Matters
Although seventy percent of employers are actually saying that colleges do a good to excellent job of creating the next generation of executives and tomorrow’s movers and shakers – according to a Chronicle study on employer perceptions of higher education – the majority of employers homed in on things other than GPA.
Employers like seeing recent post-graduates who’ve taken the initiative and gone after internships, research and volunteer positions with a passion.
When polled, employers say that these things plus jobs and extra-curriculars taken on during college are the most important factors when sizing up new hires.
What happens, though, from an employer’s perspective when interns appear to have all of these things but their performance falls a bit short of expectations?
Achieving Better Internship Results
Even after the vetting processes of taking a look at an intern’s GPA, major, volunteer experience and previous internships, the reality of some interns clearly falls short of the billing.
While assigning blame might not necessarily be the most productive use of your time, there are a few steps you can take to right the ship back on course.
Sit Down and Establish Goals
When you’re intern is proving to be more of a dud than a stud, sitting down for a one-on-one chat and clarifying weekly goals for the remainder of the internship can be an internship’s saving grace.
Make your goals measurable yet doable for an intern who’s struggling and, if it still isn’t working out, then schedule a second talk in lieu of or before meeting with the intern’s college career office.
Sitting down after the internship period’s completed and tabulating a kind of “post-mortem” of what went wrong can have everyone moving in a healthier direction for Round 2.
Consider Hosting New-hire Panels
Working a new-hire panel session into your internship program’s orientation is a great way to welcome interns and put their doubts at ease.
It basically works like this – you take three to five people who you’ve hired in the last, say, three years (“new hires”) and you sit them down in front of interns to chat about their experiences and answer questions about the work environment and what they can expect – an impromptu FAQ, if you will.
New-hire panels are great for a number of reasons. First, since your new hires are may be in a similar age range to soon-to-be or recently graduated interns, interns can immediately see a career for themselves with your company.
At the same time they can see firsthand they – as they’re not that different from your new hires – might be able to hack it as well. Interns can let their hair down, so to speak, and ask the kind of insider questions they otherwise might be too timid to inquire about.
Offer Supplemental Intern Training
After orientation and panel sessions, some interns are still struggling. In-house or extramural training sessions aimed at rounding out interns’ specific, work-related skill set or overhauling their time management skills can really pay dividends for employers who feel like these interns aren’t cutting it.