A successful summer intern will add a new voice to your company and eventually could become a full-time employee. But, if managers aren’t careful from the start, they could spend the summer babysitting fresh-faced college students who habitually update Facebook and send text messages on the job.
Brandon McClish started his career with the Evansville Otters as a promotional intern in 2007. Now, at age 24, he’s employed as director of operations, and he oversees the 10 to 12 interns working for the baseball team each summer. We asked McClish for advice on hiring and managing interns.
Choose wisely. Many college students and recent graduates apply for internships. To broaden the pool, post your internship on your company’s Web site, trade association or professional Web sites, and college career department Web sites. Once the resumes flow in and interviews begin, look for relevant experience, high energy levels, attention to detail, and eagerness to learn.
Move fast. Since internships are short-term by nature, “I need all of my interns to hit the ground running and learn fast,” McClish says. “I allow them to get hands on right away, and I try and lead by example. The first few days, I try and feel them out as best as possible, then give them projects that they can excel with.”
Be patient. The biggest difference between managing interns and full-time staffers? “You have to be there to teach a lot more for the interns,” McClish says. “They are afraid to make the tough decisions, so one must be more patient with them.”
Still, that doesn’t give an intern license to waste company time or be unprofessional. Two common issues McClish runs into with interns are inappropriate dress and technology usage — “the mass amounts of texting that they feel they need to do,” he says.
Stay positive. The daily routine of managing interns can be exhausting, but remember that you’re there to help them gain experience to launch a future career. Numerous Otters staffers began as interns, and McClish recently spoke with a 2009 promotions intern who now is employed with the Atlanta Braves. She attributes her success to her internship in Evansville.