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Summer Interns: 4 Ways to Make the Most of Them


Regardless of the recent cold front we have experienced in Buffalo - summer is on its way. The change of seasons brings about exciting opportunities for some companies – one of which is summer interns. Summer interns can be a huge asset if they are utilized correctly. 

So, how can you maximize the time you have with your summer interns?

#1: Hire Wisely

Even though interns are only your company’s employee for a few short weeks/months they still have the opportunity to make a large impact on the bottom line. This can be a good, or a bad thing. A great intern can provide your team with a fresh perspective on projects and procedures and might even turn out to be your next full-time hire. A bad intern could be unproductive, bring down employee morale and suck resources from your team.

#2: Be Prepared 

Nothing is worse than starting a new job and having nothing to do. There are a few basic items your team can do to ensure the interns are setup to hit the ground running – including:

  • Senior management: schedule a time for senior management to speak with the interns either in a group or individually. This time with high profile employees will help make the interns feel valued and appreciated.
  • Setup: ensure a desk area and proper supplies are setup and available their first day.
  • Process & procedures: set aside a few minutes to discuss the office procedures, explain the programs/systems they will need to utilize, give them a tour of the office, etc.

#3: Set Expectations

It is imperative that the individuals running the internship program take time to outline each intern’s duties and responsibilities. Not only will it give the intern a sense of purpose but the discussion will also serve as a framework for a performance review down the road.

Keep in mind that this conversation should not be a one-way discussion. It should be a chance for the intern to outline what he/she wants out of the experience. Giving them a chance to voice their needs and wants will help you determine what projects to give to each of them.

#4: Performance Management

Internships, at their core, are learning experiences. Therefore it is crucial that you try and provide the interns with opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally including:

  • Feedback: Don’t be afraid to give positive and constructive feedback to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Consistency: Set aside time to discuss the intern’s progress. Not only will this help the interns grow but it also provides the managers with a foundation to determine whether or not to hire him/her full-time at the end of the summer.  
  • Reward: Make sure to reward your interns for the contributions they make to the company before they head back to school. Showing your appreciation, even in the smallest of ways, can be very helpful in building the intern’s confidence. 

Yes, preparing and planning for your incoming summer internship class can be very time consuming. However, it can also be very rewarding. Spend the time and resources necessary to ensure that your summer interns are setup to succeed from day 1. 


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