Why You Should Provide a Better Coaching Experience for Your Interns

BY Kathy Crosett
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In many industry verticals, think the legal industry, intern gigs are little more than extended job interviews. You can help your sales interns transform into model employees with a bit of individual sales coaching. We don’t need to abuse our interns with long hours and miserable assignments. On the other hand, we shouldn’t allow them to have a country club experience that sets them up with the wrong kinds of expectations for the future. Here are few suggestions on how to improve the intern process at your company 

Cara Allamano, with significant experience in hiring and managing interns, reminds readers to set appropriate guidelines and expectations from their first day on the job. Good interns pride themselves on working hard and becoming a part of the team. After all, at the very least, they are hoping to get real work experience and a recommendation for a job in the future.

Workplace Culture

Most companies have relaxed the rules about workplace attire and working from home. In their zest to fit in, your interns may decide they can wear flip flops and shorts to work. After all, that’s what the developers wear. If your interns are going to be in a customer-​facing position, advise them before they start working for you. Let them know the kinds of apparel that are acceptable and the kinds that aren’t.

And set the ground rules in advance about when they must be in the office. Too often, managers let interns default their way into working from home on a regular basis. Part of the intern experience is to learn how to interact with other team members in person. In some cases, they need to interact with customers face-​to-​face. If that's a key part of working at your organization, let interns know what you expect.

Professional Development

Interns come to your company for a set period of time, and they have expectations. As with any other employee, managers should help interns formulate goals. The emphasis should be on realistic goals. Some interns may come to you imagining they will get to take on exciting projects or sit in on meetings where top-​secret plans are discussed. A good day at work might involve some of those activities. But, more often, the workday means handling mundane tasks. Pay attention to how employees assign projects to your interns. Make sure the work contains a mix of exciting and mundane tasks.

Think of spending time with your interns as an investment in the future. You’re helping these young professionals develop themselves, and you’re ensuring that a future employer will benefit from those efforts. In some cases, you may end up hiring an intern. If that happens, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you’re bringing a person who’s a known quantity into the organization. On top of that, the new employee will be accustomed to what's expected at your company.