On National Intern Day evaluate your internship program
posted by David Collison on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in SHAZAM Blog
Many of you know my passion for championing internships and finding additional ways for students to find a pathway into software development careers. Some organizational leaders approach this topic with the attitude of “It’s one more thing to manage.” And with everything else going on in their organizations, internships can take a back seat.
Yet, I can’t emphasize enough — internships are critical to the future success of your organization! Period.
In today’s workplace, cultural fit is just as important as the technical skill set a person brings to perform their job. Whether it’s an area of your organization with direct client interaction or back-end business support activities — being part of a team is critical to your organization’s success.
Let’s be honest with each other — if you hire someone who has all the necessary “skills” for the role they’re going to play, but they aren’t able to work with their fellow team members and don’t exhibit the image you want projected to your clients — you’re setting the team up for failure and you’re potentially going to lose valued clients.
Internships give you and your organization the ability to not only assess the hard skills needed to perform a specific role in your organization, but internships also allow you to assess the soft skills of a potential full-time employee and how well they fit into the team and overall organizational culture.
Ask yourself if the candidate has the emotional intelligence that allows them to interact with other team members and solve problems — or do they sit back and wait for others to solve the problem? Or, more critically, do they actively interfere with problem-solving? If they’re in a client-facing role, do they understand how to build relationships adding long-term value to your organization, or are they interested in transactional relationships getting the deal today, but burns the bridges for future business?
You play a direct role in setting your interns up for success. On day one, assign them to a mentor. That mentor should not only be able to guide them on the specifics of how to do their job, but should also act as a coach, showing how to successfully interact with fellow team members across the organization. And, if they are in a client-facing role, be sure to coach them on how your organization engages with clients to create long-term successful partnerships.
Don’t underestimate the value of the “coach” and how these mentors can impact the success or failure of an intern and your internship program. Coaches should be trusted team members who know how to lift people up and set them up for success.
July 25 is National Intern Day and we’ll celebrate our interns for being future leaders of our world. There’s no better time to start your internship program. Why not start today?
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