Interns Are Like House-Guests: Plan Before They Arrive For A Successful Experience!

Interns and house-guests alike often arrive at a previously agreed upon day and time. And like house-guests, interns may show up knowing what to expect at your ‘house’ [organization].

But they might not.

And rather than leaving them standing in the doorway, skeptically looking around, and asking “What do I do next?,” it’s vital to have a plan.

How can your organization make sure that you’re ready for that intern? Here’s your check-list:

Item 1: Physical Logistics

Where is the intern going to sit?

Do they need a computer? Do you already have one, but it needs to get reconfigured?

Is the intern going to be working remotely?

And if that’s the case, how are you going to get them the technology that they need?

Item 2: List of Duties

What kinds of things is the intern going to do:

  • Every single day?
  • Every single week?
  • (Maybe) every single month, depending on how long they’re going to be with you?

To have this be a successful experience for both parties, you need to be clear and specific. Painfully so.

Making these lists is time-consuming. I get it. But the clearer your expectations are for the intern, the more time they can spend doing the work and contributing to your team (rather than the opposite!).

Item 3: Identify Point of Contact

Be clear about who will be the point of contact for the intern.

Is someone going to be their mentor?

Who will be their manager? Is this person good at coaching — rather than directing — people?

Will the manager have time to do regular, frequent check-in meetings, especially at the start of the internship?

If people are working remotely, make sure that that intern has somebody to talk to regularly — and they’re not just sitting in their apartment and wondering what they should be doing next.

During the first couple of weeks, those check-in meetings need to be pretty frequent (depending on the intern, maybe multiple times a day to start).

As a team, you’ll also want to decide that too: will these conversations happen at the beginning of the day and/or the end of the day? Is it going to be every few hours? Is it going to be once a week?

What you decide will depend on your team, the projects you’re working on, and all those sorts of things. BUT, have a conversation about it now to figure out a game plan before your intern shows up.

Item 4: Practice Project!

Do you have a sample project for the intern to get started on?

Consider a small project or a previous project that you’ve already completed. What can be used as a case study and to practice?

Truly, nothing is worse than being someplace the first week or two, still learning all the things that you need to learn….and also just not having anything to DO but to take in all that information

It can be really overwhelming and kind of boring. Which you don’t want, especially for the intern that you are trying to get excited about being on your team!

Remember that interns coming off of the summer are used to it DOING lots of things, and so having a project that they can actually get their hands”dirty” is going to be really helpful for them.

They’ll feel like they’re a part of the team and be engaged right away.

This is ALSO a good thing for you!

You’ll get a sense of like what they’re capable of, and the places that you’re going to need to work specifically on some coaching with them. You’ll both learn a lot. 😀


Remember that times are really weird, but it’s okay.

You’ll get through it because you’re strong and brave.

I look forward to connecting with you back here soon!

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