I'm Kaylan, leadership educator, podcaster & speaker

What are you searching for?

Reading suggestions

Crafting a 90-Day Onboarding Plan

Job Postings that Attract Top Talent

Mapping Your Leadership Style


9 Things I Learned Hiring an Intern This Year

November 24, 2020

In this week’s episode I’m sharing the top 9 things I learned from hiring an intern this year. 

My ultimate goal bringing on an intern was to increase podcast traffic and listenership. I brought her on in September and came to it with open hands and made sure to remember this role is about THEM! 

1.) Treat the internship like you are hiring an employee. 

The role should be clearly outlined and focused. Establishing a clear lane that they are running is important in their growth. By having them running in multiple different lanes you are marginalized their efforts. 

Have the intern apply and interview just like you would  a paid hire. The only difference between an intern and a hire is that your intern is getting paid with experience and gained knowledge. 

2.) Education is the wage.

An intern is not just a free virtual assistant. It’s your job to take them under your wing and to teach them. Come at this new partnership with a coaching ethos. Be sure to ask them questions regarding what they want to be able to explore and what they want to get out of the internship. 

See how their strengths line up and where those strengths shine best. The first month is time for you and your intern to learn, experiment, and try new things. Their currency is experience in their desired zone of expertise. Allow them to navigate the lanes they are interested in, but make sure their core purpose never changes. 

3.) Coach, don’t boss. 

Your job is to help them clear the clutter. Provide them with helpful feedback and advise. Discuss what’s standing in their way of achieving their goals. Then,  analyze what the options are to move towards that success and past the obstacles. 

4.) Amp up engagement for a virtual team. 

One thing I have noticed with me and my intern is that we are both introverts. It has slowed down the bonding process but nonetheless each week we are getting closer and that is because of engagement.

 Especially with virtual internships, it is important to meet regularly with your intern to discuss their progress, give feedback, and to create a relationship with your team member.Share more of your life with them and get to know them on a human level!

5.) Your intern craves feedback 

I have to admit, this is my area of weakness. I’m not perfect and I always want to just do things on my own. Remember though that you are their coach and you are guiding them and helping them achieve their goals. 

Interns want to hear feedback and they want to be able to leave this position stronger in their area of expertise. Set them up for a lifetime of success!

6.) Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback 

By asking more questions like what kind of support do they need from you that you are getting right now, you will get important feedback to help you support them better. More often than not, they won’t be able to give an immediate answer so let them think about it and come back to the question later. This way you are getting an thought out answer. 

Dig deep to get that in depth feedback. It will benefit both you and your intern. 

7.) Keep the role focused.

Your intern wants to master and explore the lane they are in. They don’t want to be a taskmaster and do a bunch of different things. Narrow down their work and tell them the one impact you want to see form their work.

For me that was podcast listenership. So, I had her tell me what she was interested in and we narrowed her workload based on both our criteria and needs. Empower them to run wild and explore. 

8.) Know at times you are going to feel awkward and lost as a leader.

Just know, even if those first few meetings are awkward, you are doing a great job. At the end of the day, if your primary focus is to support and encourage your intern, you are killing it! Messing up is a part of the process and is teaching you things along the way!

9.) Keep their school work in mind. 

At the very end of their day if your intern has to choose between work or a midterm,  they are going to choose their midterm everytime, as they should! 

I hired my intern in September and since then October and November have passed which is prime midterm season. This is important to take into account so you aren’t blindsided when your intern has to take a little bit off her workload for the week because of midterm season. 

Be cognizant of this and have an open line of communication so you are always in the loop with what is going on with them. Yes, they are adults and should know what they signed up for, but have and provide grace.

Lets Connect!

Well, that’s it, the 9 things I learned after hiring an intern this year! If you have any questions please send your questions to me on instagram. I would love to help guide you and cheer you on as you hire your first intern!

Helpful Resources:

For more information on the Leadership Academy click here!

strategically map your next hires

Built Best Hiring Planner

download the free 7-page PLANNER

It's time to give yourself a promotion, but don't just wing it. Your future team member deserves all the intentionality and clarity you can muster - here's how to strategically plan their new role, and yours!

access the google doc

I'm Kaylan, leadership educator, podcaster & speaker

What are you searching for?

Reading suggestions

Crafting a 90-Day Onboarding Plan

Job Postings that Attract Top Talent

Mapping Your Leadership Style