Creating an internship programme is not an easy task because a lot is on stake, a lot more than you are thinking of now! The reasons why people float up internships usually is to widen up their resource pool and have well trained good quality people who they can place in their company in future. A way in which you give back to society by training the youth and helping yourself in the process as well.
If you are a student an internship adds a lot of value. You no longer are a fresher in the job market, you are skilled, have experience of working, meeting targets and have a good enough idea of the field inside out; giving you a lot of clarity on your career choices.
An internship is as valuable to the employer as to the student and thinking otherwise is a huge mistake on both sides. Here we list down the top mistakes made by interns and employers in dealing with each other, which will help in evaluating how to successfully deal with the entire process and benefit each other in the long run!
My Dear Interns,
Your Internship is/ will be a huge disappointment if you are:
1. Enrolling Up Just Because There Is A Vacancy:
Just because the brand name is good is not reason enough to pounce on any given opportunity. The most important factor you need to consider in all of this is whether the opportunity at hand is of any value. Any internship floated helps you develop one core skill set, if that skill set is of no importance to you, then the internship eventually will be wasting time on both ends.
2. Taking Work For Granted:
Work is not play, work is work and when you take up an internship you should be well aware that it’s not a college assignment or project that you are doing. You are accountable for not just your actions but it’s implications on the company as well.
Be mentally well prepared to work hard and you should do so because:
a. Your employer will definitely notice your efforts and will give you a long term placement.
b. You will get to learn a lot by the actual work experience, which no textbook can match up with.
3. Treating This Like School:
You are not in school, so do not expect a teacher to run behind you and give you punishment for non performance or give silly school like reasons to be excused of work.
It does not work here as it is a professional set up where you have grown up’s working and expect you to do the same. While you intern; you learn and grow. Do not hamper this opportunity in self development by silly excuses and curb your own opportunities.
4. Inefficient Time Management:
Efficient time management is every successful person’s secret and in order to grow and evolve, eventually you will have to master this. Managing time for college projects or assignments along with the internship targets and your personal life is a must.
You can’t stop living because you are an intern nor can you ditch an internship because you miss your parties, can you? Learn to balance instead of whining, will definitely help you grow.
5. Giving Up Easily:
Ok, you couldn’t complete the target this week, or maybe last week or maybe for quite some time but did you question yourself why? No! you just declared the internship as a lot of work, cursed your boss, called yourself incompetent and invariably left.
But that’s not what you are supposed to do are you? Take a deep breath, step back and figure out, why you can’t manage the stress. You won’t be running away from everything in life will you? Then why now?
6. Lack Of Faith In The Internship:
An internship is when an employer takes the risk of taking on board someone totally fresh and raw and takes a chance with their company’s reputation by giving you a chance to work with them.
They train you, trust you and make efforts to help you evolve, many times putting up with a lot of you childish and baseless arguments and demands. Do not take this for granted because when you start working full time no one will put up with this nor will they guide you with kid gloves.
Value your internship because it’s a lot of effort to get into a good one.
7. Taking Your Seniors For Granted:
Nope they are not your paid employees but it’s the other way around so respect them! They know much more than you do and are not on a mission to frustrate you, just like you they are doing their job. Learn to respect these people who will eventually end up guiding you, you need them and their organization much more than they need you!
8. Missing Those Subtle Yet Substantial Positives:
You may have enrolled into an internship to polish a specific skill set, but learn to acknowledge the various positives it brings along with that one skill set. You learn the fine aspects of professional life, formal conduct and develop a personality that obviously helps you get an advantage over your peers and competitors.
My Frustrated/irritated/ worried/ skeptic employers,
The Internship programme you floated is/ will be a huge disappointment if:
1. No Proper Internship Structure:
It’s very important to have a set structure and follow it! Lack in structural stability is a weak start and weak bases easily crumble don’t they? The point I am trying to make here is that unless you are well aware of what you want, how you want it executed and what are the possible outcomes; you will never be able to communicate that effectively to your interns and you will never be satisfied with their efforts.
2. Too Easy To Get In:
You gave access to a lot of people by a noble intention of giving maximum people a chance to learn, but ended up having a lot of unwanted people in the group.
Take up only deserving people by making the selection criteria difficult. Rocks which are diamonds will surely shine out and you can easily filter away the unwanted pebbles of the group easily.
3. Doing Instead Of Delegating:
They are your interns and they are working under you, in no way will your doing their tasks improve their efficiency; it will only add up to your burden and they won’t benefit or grow at all. Delegate tasks, help out wherever needed but don’t ever do it yourself.
4. Accepting Excuses:
If you do it once you will end up doing it forever, interns are eventually students and we have all been students at one point in our lives to know how authentic or life shattering their excuses are. Do NOT absolutely NOT entertain excuses.
5. Choosing The Wrong People:
At times to fill in gaps we need to recruit fast and in the process we end up taking the wrong people. A person can be wrong for your organization if his attitude towards life is wrong and this becomes very apparent from your initial correspondence.
Skills can be sharpened and knowledge can be imparted but bad attitudes, cynics and lazy people.. Naah! they don’t do anything except taking down the morale of the entire team.
6. Spoon Feeding:
Teach them and let them battle their own wars, if you are always available and they do not think for themselves now they will never do it in future, adding up to your over burdened schedule.
7. Sympathy Over Empathy:
You can be empathetic but sympathy should go straight out of the window. Your seniors never gave you a day off because you had a personal issue, why give your interns such flexibility? You have employed them and it is essential they understand the value of the opportunity.
8. Being Very Friendly/ Helpful:
In your work place friendly does well, but when you are dealing with your interns, try to avoid this as they end up taking you for granted. In a work place of equals people respect you for the work you do, but when you deal with students they rarely have the maturity to do that, a professional approach is what you need if you wish that they perform efficiently.
9. Lack Of Information/Knowledge:
While you are their boss and the boss is always right, do not forget that an intern after all is a fresher and unless you inform them, guide them or teach them tactfully they will not learn. Nobody is perfect and even if someone shows immense potential unless you inform them properly it’s not going to work out.
10. Brand Valuation:
You might be a big brand name and have earned immense respect in the industry, but appealing to the student community needs a very different approach. They won’t value you or anyone probably unless you tell them about yourself.
They won’t ever make the effort to actually go and ask/search/read about you and will be entirely oblivious to whatever achievements and credentials you have. Ultimately they are students and are naïve in their ways, unless you inform them and update them on the company’s progress they won’t respect you as much as needed.
11. Targets And Targeting Right:
With targets you have performers, super performers or under performers but with interns you have phases, ‘the super enthusiastic about the internship phase’ where they are super performers, the ‘this is so much work phase’ where they are under performers or maybe the ‘oh I realize just what I was giving up phase’ and become decent performers. Their mood swings and roller coaster ride of being a teenager or a young adult will have the best people in a bad patch and the worst people performing in a way that exceeds your imagination.
When you deal with these people it is better to quote targets a bit on the higher side and create a challenge for them. They might achieve 50% of the set targets but the sheer adrenaline rush in planning to achieve the unattainable might get them going and in the process help you get work done.
12. Screaming Gets You Nowhere:
Lastly, they are not kids are they? Teenagers or Young Adults are the biggest rebels and if you scream or even burst a blood vessel they do only what they think is fine so why not work on minimizing the screaming and maximizing the ‘patient yet firm’ approach!
Internships are a lot of fun, they are super helpful and can be one of the best choices you made as an employer or a student, just ensure you tackle them the right way!