As an employer with an eye on the future, you made hiring a great summer intern one of your top priorities for this summer. And now with summer upon us, you have seen first hand that you in fact hired that highly desired great summer intern. Now you're extremely excited about all the projects that you will finally get around to this summer. Perhaps you may even see the bottom of your to-do list!
Hopefully you see that your intern this summer seems just as eager, enthusiastic and happy to work with you. Perfect! And while you value your intern's contribution, you know that this position is for better or worse temporary to just this summer. You might also know that your intern is looking for a full-time job after the summer. This is of course perfectly normal and understandable.
But, is it a problem if you're thinking "summer intern" and your intern is thinking "full-time employment"? Not at all, provided you take the time to make sure expectations are aligned.
Here are a few tips for navigating this otherwise sticky situation:
Acknowledge It: Yes, it could get uncomfortable if you
Mentor: Take the time to teach your intern, both about your business but also about the process of finding a job. Job-hunting is a skill and as an employer, you probably have some experience with this. Sharing valuable insight on how to find a job can be (almost) as helpful as providing one.
Feedback: As the summer internship progresses, touch base with your summer intern a few times to get his or her feedback on how things are going. While you might talk about this informally throughout the summer, set aside time to have a more formal discussion with them. Ask for feedback about how they feel about the work assigned to them or how they feel about the industry and if they know this is an area they want to explore or go into a different field. Hopefully you can offer insight that will help guide them and their career in the present and in the future.
Open Doors: Last but not least, once you evaluate your intern's skills and interests ask yourself if this is someone you would hire if you were looking. If the answer is yes, then take out your Rolodex and start making some introductions. You'll be helping out both your intern and your fellow business owner!
Being on the same page as your summer intern about future employment options and possibilities is extremely important. It will help productivity throughout the summer and make sure everyone's expectations are on the same page. Hopefully these tips can make the employer-intern relationship stronger and the overall summer internship experience better for all parties involved.