How to Effectively Hire and Manage Interns

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Hiring an intern is a great way to manage your office’s workflow and to give college students or recent graduates an opportunity to learn about your industry and company. Interns can be a great asset to your business, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are still learning the ropes. It's also important to know where to find interns and what qualities to look for when hiring an intern.

How to Find Interns

There are a number of places to find interns, including online job boards, universities and internship programs. Job boards are good places to start your search. WayUp, for instance, is a job board specifically for interns and recent college graduates. There are even job boards related to specific fields, like BioSpace, which features job postings related to the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In fact, "intern" was the most-searched keyword on BioSpace's job board in 2021. 

If you decide to recruit interns through universities, contact the career center and ask if they have any students interested in interning. Many colleges have programs specifically for internships, so this is a great place to start your search. Many healthcare programs in most universities have internships as part of their curriculum, so you can find qualified interns this way.

Be sure to search for students who are majoring in a field relevant to your needs or have experience working in your industry. You should also look for students who are organized, detail-oriented and have good communication skills. However, don't be so quick to judge students based on their grades. Many students who don't have the best grades are still excellent candidates for internships and may even be more motivated to succeed as they are often eager to prove themselves.

Set Clear Expectations

When you’ve found your interns, be sure to set clear expectations from the start. Discuss the duties and responsibilities of the internship, compensation, as well as the hours and schedule. Be sure to also discuss expectations for performance and conduct. It’s important to be clear and concise with your expectations to avoid any confusion or conflict. Once you've found your candidates, it's also critical to understand how to manage them once you've hired them.

Assign a Mentor

There are a number of reasons why you should give interns a mentor or supervisor to report to. First, it gives interns someone to go to with questions or concerns.

Second, a mentor can help the intern to learn and grow in their position. The mentor can help to identify the intern's strengths and weaknesses and provide feedback on how they can improve.

Third, a mentor can provide direct guidance and support to the intern, especially if they are having difficulty with a task or project. It's also important for interns who are working with patients to have a mentor to support them.

Fourth, a mentor can help to create a positive work environment for the intern. This is especially important if the intern is working in a fast-paced or stressful environment, such as a hospital or clinic.

If you don't have the resources to provide a mentor for your intern, there are other ways to provide support. You can create a buddy system, where interns are paired with one another so that they can lean on each other for support.

Assign Appropriate Tasks

When employers delegate tasks within an intern's skill level, it allows the intern to learn and grow. Employers can also measure an intern's capability and capacity for growth. It's important for employers to want their interns to succeed by giving their interns work that is meaningful yet challenging.

Here are four tips on how to delegate tasks:

1. Match the task to the intern's skill level. This doesn't mean having your interns do benign tasks such as getting coffee or making copies. The tasks you delegate should be challenging yet achievable so the intern can learn and grow.

2. Make sure the intern knows what is expected of them. Set clear goals and expectations for the task at hand. This will help the intern to stay on track and complete the task in a timely manner.

3. Create a positive environment so they are comfortable asking questions and getting clarification. This will help them to understand the task and complete it successfully.

4. Check in with the intern often to ensure they understand the task and are on track. Though you don't want to micromanage, it's important to understand that someone with little experience in the industry will need more frequent direction than a seasoned employee.

Be Patient

Finally, it's important to be patient with interns. They are new to the workplace and may not know all the ropes. It's also important to give them time to learn and grow. In some cases, they may not be able to complete a task in the timeframe you expect. This is okay - just be sure to communicate with them so they understand your expectations.

If an intern is having difficulty with a task, try to provide guidance and support. If the intern is still unable to complete the task, then it may be necessary to reassign the task to another employee. What's important is that they learn from their mistakes and grow as a result.

Managing Remote Interns

Remote work is becoming more and more common, so it's important for employers to know how to manage remote interns. Training interns to be self-starters is essential for a remote work-based future. Employers can do this by communicating expectations, setting clear goals, and providing support and guidance.

However, it may be difficult to provide the same level of support and guidance for remote interns. In this case, employers can rely on technology to help bridge the gap. For example, employers can use video conferencing tools to provide live support, or they can use online messaging tools to communicate with interns. Additionally, employers can require remote interns to submit regular reports on their progress so that communication is ongoing.

Whether you decide to hire your interns to work remotely or in-person, make sure you provide them with the resources and support they need to ensure success for everyone involved. 

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