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Consider your company culture and business need when recruiting and screening candidates. Select interns based on their fit with your needs. Examples might include: Strong academic achievement, demonstrated teamwork and leadership through outside activities, prior internship experience, or longer term/post graduation career goals.

Determine what you can pay and what your competition is paying for an hourly internship rate.

Plan assignments that will provide real-world experience for the intern and value-added results for your company. Remember that the intern is still learning so putting them on a high-visibility, strategic project is not usually the best choice. Consider projects that you can and should tackle with this additional talent and capacity.

Tap into their unique perspective. Interns can provide insight on marketing approaches geared toward their generation and can offer fresh ideas. Consider giving them a special research project to work on during part of their time. If you have multiple interns, consider teaming them up to work on a special challenge.

Provide visibility for your interns. Ask them to present research findings and/or an end of summer presentation to senior leaders in your company. This is great experience for the intern and a good way to further evaluate and consider their potential and fit with leaders and decision makers.

Treat them like real employees. Provide necessary equipment, office and name tag. Seat them amongst their work team. This will fully integrate them. Interns who are seated off by themselves without the standard equipment tend to feel undervalued and isolated.

Below are suggestions of roles in a successful program:

EMPLOYER ROLE

  • Provide challenging, real-world assignments
  • Provide experienced mentors
  • Create an environment of inclusion
  • Evaluate potential
  • Provide feedback

INTERN ROLE

  • Complete assignments on time and with high quality
  • Demonstrate initiative
  • Ask questions
  • Learn about the company
  • Provide feedback

EXECUTIVE/OFFICER LEVEL MENTOR ROLE

  • Share career experiences
  • Provide big-picture view
  • Ask questions—engage intern
  • Provide Feedback

WORK-TEAM MENTOR ROLE

  • Be available/accessible to intern
  • Provide context
  • Share helpful resources
  • Answer questions
  • Provide feedback