Internships are the perfect strategy for organisations to discover and nurture top talent to suit the company’s needs, whilst those undertaking them are able to benefit from professional development, networking and career exploration.

Interns who are able to capitalise on the potential opportunities that internships bring are in the perfect position to jump ahead of other candidates when interviewing for full-time jobs further down the road.

Some internships can lead to full-time employment if individuals excel, but how can businesses ensure their internship programmes successfully prepare potential staff for what lies ahead?

Planning is vital

Advance planning is the key to a successful internship programme. Hiring an intern who is waiting around for someone to assign a project is not productive for anyone and can be a drain on resources.

Approach your internship programme as an important element of your staffing plan, and utilise the information available to you. You could even link together with other departments to arrange a time when the intern can learn about other areas of the company and gain a greater overview of the business.

Think about the design

A well-developed programme benefits both the company and the intern, so remove any unattainable expectations and guesswork from the process. Before you even think about interviewing, establish objectives and identify who you are targeting and what skills and attributes you think are necessary.

Presenting a clear plan will give the internship a more professional feel, rather than just a way of securing a talented individual for limited expense. Map out the length and timing of the internship, with expected work hours, remuneration and a simple plan of what the intern can expect if they join, who they are going to work alongside, and what they will get up to.

Regular feedback

It can be easy for interns to get lost within the business, especially if the internship lasts for a couple of months, which is why it is vital to establish a regular feedback pattern. After any specific projects or assignments that the intern has taken on, feedback can be provided detailing areas to improve or aspects that went better than expected.

It is important to keep interns up to date on their overall situation as well – are they doing well enough to have opened the door for a possible long-term role? Even if not, being honest and clear about the future will ensure that when the internship ends your business is reflected well.

If you’re an employer looking to attract the best graduate talent, find out how Discovery Graduates can help…