• Six Tips for a Successful Intern Orientation Program

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    April 3, 2013

    The goal of an intern orientation program is to get your interns integrated into your organization, clear about the expectations you have for them and ready to learn and be productive.

    A typical intern orientation includes you formally welcoming students to the organization, having them fill out any requisite paperwork, setting expectations for them during their term, providing information about the company and their internship, and allowing them to bond with their fellow interns.

    Following are six tips for holding an effective internship orientation program:

    1. Hold intern orientation on the students’ first day of work—This will help to get interns off to a good start and help them avoid misunderstandings during their work term. Require your interns to attend and have as many of your interns start on the same day as possible. Doing so means you will have to hold fewer orientation sessions and your interns will enjoy meeting as many of their fellow interns as possible.
    2. Manage your time—A comprehensive orientation can be completed in about two hours. Remember, students are used to sitting in class usually for no more than that. Set the tone for the summer by having a well-planned and engaging orientation that meets your goals and your interns’ needs without dragging on.
    3. Include your “stars”—If possible, have your CEO and/or other executives on hand to briefly welcome the interns to the organization. This shows upper management’s commitment to the internship program.
    4. Fill in the gaps—While interns are filling out requisite paperwork, have refreshments available and college relations staff on hand to engage students who have previously submitted these items or who finish early.
    5. Include an icebreaker and/or a team-building activity—As an icebreaker, for example, have the students pair up with someone they don’t already know and have a five-minute conversation. Then, ask each intern to introduce his or her partner to the group, telling the partner’s name, school, major, hometown, and something interesting about that person. Or, for a team-building exercise, divide the interns into groups. Give each group a box of Legos and have the groups build something using the Legos and anything else in the room. Have each team present their project to the group and award prizes for the most creative items.
    6. Understand your audience—Remember, interns are young people who, for the most part, are new to the workplace. Be very clear about your expectations for their workplace conduct in the context that your greatest goal is that they have a successful internship with you. Tell them, too, what they can expect from the organization, such as challenging work assignments, networking opportunities, feedback throughout their work term, and more.

Six Tips for a Successful Intern Orientation Program