We’ve been in the process of interviewing and hiring for our THIRD summer internship program. Well actually, it’s not interviewing per se, but rather holding a competition that requires applicants to send as much traffic as possible to a website by (almost) any means necessary.
This year’s turnout truly impressed us, both in caliber and quantity. We’d learned a lot in previous summers and as we’ve expanded as a company, so too has our capacity to care for the young folks ready and excited to learn, work, and get us coffee. Kidding!
Taking on interns is a responsibility, not an opportunity for free labor. And year over year, we double-down on our efforts to care for our newest set.
So we’re sharing some of our best recommendations for how to build out an epic internship program, and some of the things we’ve learned along the way:
We start challenging our interns before they’re even officially onboard with our competition model for interviewing. Think of challenging as an opportunity to expand their capacity. Give them real tasks, like, actual work that people get paid for in your office. Pushing them gives them the chance to rise to the occasion and succeed for you. Plus, it’s the best way to make sure they’d be a fit for a potential long-term position.
It wasn’t more than five years ago that paid internships felt like a luxury—I once had to pay for the college credits to make me eligible for an unpaid internship. I get that not every business can afford to shell out heaps of cash to this new workforce, but if you’re asking for excellent work from your interns, pay them for it. It solidifies that you value them, and if you don’t, then don’t hire interns.
Invest in them.
Create an actual program that supports and cares for them. CTC values caring for clients and employees alike, and that extends to our interns. What are some additional ways you can connect with and support your interns, or build camaraderie between them? Weekly lunches? A book club (and provide the book) to educate them? Opportunities to learn from upper management?
Hire/Appoint one person to care for them.
Sure, if you’re employing 50 or 500 interns, appoint more than one person, but make sure there is a person or are people to care for your new interns. This person isn’t their manager, but someone who oversees their experience with your company. This person advocates for the intern, assists their team or department in teaching them, runs point on managing problems that may arise, etc. Interns can quickly fall through the cracks in your company, so make sure you have a designated person or some people ready to keep that from happening.
Thank you to everyone who applied and competed for this year’s internship program! We’d love to welcome Allison, Luke A., and Luke B. to the CTC Family this summer!