STEPS TO GET THE BEST OUT OF AN IN­TERN

Cara Jenkin finds how in­terns can help them­selves and the busi­ness

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1 TREAT THEM LIKE ANY­ONE ELSE

‘‘ Even though an in­tern is in the work­place for a tem­po­rary pe­riod, treat them just as any other reg­u­lar em­ployee,’’ Gam­ble says. ‘‘ Make them feel a full part of the team.’’ IN­TERNS are a valu­able re­source for com­pa­nies, not just a com­mu­nity ser­vice or a cheap staffing op­tion.

Ro­han Gam­ble, founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of fi­nan­cial com­par­i­son web­site Mozo.com.au, out­lines how work­ers can get the most out of in­terns dur­ing their time in the work­place that will help the in­tern’s de­vel­op­ment, as well as the com­pany’s.

Try to bal­ance rou­tine tasks with in­ter­est­ing projects.

‘‘ The easy op­tion is to dump mun­dane tasks on in­terns, leav­ing you to fo­cus on your higher level work.

‘‘ But if you can take the time to show in­terns how your sys­tems work and give them some sim­ple train­ing, they’ll be much more use­ful and pro­duc­tive,’’ he says.

3

FIND THEIR SKILL

In­terns may also have ex­ist­ing skills that could ben­e­fit your com­pany.

‘‘ A spe­cific tal­ent or in­ter­est, such as writ­ing skills, so­cial me­dia prow­ess or even dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy can be used to your ad­van­tage,’’ Gam­ble says.

‘‘ One of our re­cent mar­ket­ing in­terns (Shaun Le­ung, pic­tured) had web and graphic de­sign skills and re­designed our web­site home page, boost­ing con­ver­sion rates by 20 per cent.’’

4 HAR­NESS THEIR IN­SIGHT

New peo­ple al­ways bring fresh in­sight and ideas and a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive.

‘‘ Com­pa­nies strug­gling to un­der­stand younger cus­tomer de­mo­graph­ics have an in­stant, free fo­cus group on hand,’’ Gam­ble says.

‘‘ Ask your in­terns what they hon­estly think about your busi­ness. As po­ten­tial cus­tomers, what changes would they like to see oc­cur?’’

5

GIVE THEM A VOICE

‘‘ Don’t hide your in­terns away,’’ Gam­ble says. ‘‘ Hav­ing young, bright peo­ple on staff can be great for your com­pany’s im­age.

‘‘ At Mozo, we en­cour­age in­terns to blog un­der their own names, rather than strictly con­trol­ling the cor­po­rate voice to se­nior em­ploy­ees only.’’

Gam­ble says an in­tern­ship can lead to a per­ma­nent po­si­tion if the in­tern proves their worth.

‘‘ You have a po­ten­tial em­ployee who is tried and tested, knows your com­pany and is al­ready a val­ued team mem­ber,’’ he says.

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