Internship Management


Michael Griffitts


Use Internships for Long-Term Recruiting

Use internships to observe talent and motivation of the interns (“real-life assessment”). This enhances the quality of hiring decisions and lowers the risk of attrition in the first year of employment. Both the intern and the company know “what they will get”.

Use Internships to Freshen up Your Company Culture

Use the ideas and new forms of communication of interns to stay in touch with the new generation entering the labor market.  Design activities that will combine business relevance and idea generation (e.g. hack-a-thons). Encourage interns to bring ideas and energy into the culture of the organization. 

Combine With University Relationships

Use existing university relationships or build new ones to develop a sustainable pipeline for internships. Potentially, combine internships with research in the university (e.g. doctorate internships, master thesis internships) to create a win-win situation for the university and the company.

Engage Senior Leaders and High Potentials

Create opportunities for senior leaders to interact with interns as part of on-boarding activities or for lunch-and-learn sessions. Use high potentials as managers and mentors to give them additional experience in managing and developing others. This can have an energizing effect on the leaders and the high-potentials, and the interns will appreciate the exposure to leadership and the learning benefits of high-quality managers.


Don’t Use as a Low-cost Capacity

Although interns usually cost significantly less cost than regular employees, do not ignore the educational purpose of the internship and view them as additional operational workers.  It could be a violation of labor laws, union agreements and other forms of applicable regulations. Treating interns solely as an extra pair of hands can negatively influence the company’s image as an employer in relevant parts of the labor market (including interns’ personal and social media communities!) and could certainly also reduce the number of future interns who view the company as attractive.

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