Building your Internship – Evaluating Performance and Concluding the Internship (Part 5 of 6)

In parts 1, 2, 3 & 4, you laid the groundwork and determined your organization’s goals for your internship program, outlined the duties and requirements of your intern, clarified the structure of the internship position(s), determined how you will compensate your interns, then recruited and welcomed your interns. Whew! You’ve been busy!  Today’s post will focus on evaluating and concluding the internship.

Disclaimer: This section will provide guidance for employers building their programs independently of a school/program. In the case that you are partnering with a school or academic department, you may find that there are requirements that you must consider for evaluating your interns and concluding your program.

Let them know measures for success
Back in Part 1 of the series, you determined the goals of your program, as well as the intern’s duties and learning objectives. I recommend establishing just how those two relate to one another, and sharing it with your intern.  This kind of information is not only educational; it can also be empowering (speaking from my own experience as a member of Generation Y).  Then, when it comes time to evaluate their performance, you have clear measures to which you can refer.

Ask for their feedback throughout the program
This idea was brought up during an Internbridge Webinar I participated in a few months ago, and I think it was a fantastic one.  What happens if you only solicit feedback at the end of an internship?  You don’t have time to make adjustments before your interns leave. If you get their feedback and impressions throughout the program, you can shape the program accordingly. Now, I don’t mean making significant adjustment on the whim of someone who’s with you for a short time, I mean simply considering their impressions to see if there’s room for improvement.

Hold an exit interview
Another golden idea from our friends at NACE. With an exit interview, or even a survey, you can get more significant feedback to consider for your next internship cycle.

Stay in touch with former interns
It’s very possible you may want to hire an intern immediately. It’s also possible that you may not have a suitable opportunity when the internship is wrapping up. But what about six months down the road? Or two years down the road? Your former employees/interns can be valuable assets to your organization, so be sure you don’t lose track of them.  They also have the potential to be great advocates and referral agents when you are ready for your new crew of interns.

Phew!  We’ve covered quite a LOT in these last 5 posts. Don’t worry, though –  Post 6 will offer a recap of main topics, as well as fruther resources to help you from here.  Stay tuned!

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