How To Make The Most of Your Intern

August 24, 2016
By Nick Fleming

Bringing on an intern can improve communication, productivity and morale in your team.

It’s not just a case of getting them in the building; a great intern requires great management. Here are our top eight tips to ensure you’re making the most of your intern.


1. Get to Know Them

Good communication starts with building rapport. Take your intern out for a coffee on their first day and try to avoid work talk. Finding out more about your intern (their interests, values, aspirations) will give you a foundation of open and honest communication, something that will come in handy when they reach out for help later down the track.

2. Provide Structure

Giving your intern clear structure about who they report to and who they go to for help can make your intern feel more a part of the team, as well as avoid situations where they’re stuck because of a knowledge gap. Setting up ‘getting to know you’ meetings during their first week with members of your team can be a good way to establish these relationships.

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3. Make Your Intern Accountable

Give them a project of their own that will boost their productivity and drive them to do their best work. Bonus tip: start with a small task to assess their strengths and weaknesses and then go from there.

4. Make Time For Them

Make time to not only give feedback to your intern, but receive it back too. Interns can be a valuable source of criticality — if you ask them to speak candidly with you about aspects of the team and working culture you may be surprised about what insights they can offer.

5. Share The Big Picture

No-one likes menial tasks, but if they’re a necessary evil in achieving a bigger purpose then they no longer feel like punishment. By sharing the big picture with your intern (whether it’s a company vision or team goal) you can show how the small things contribute to a grand plan.

6. Reward Them

Internships work best when both parties are benefitting equally from the relationship. If your intern is doing great work — reward them. From learning opportunities, networking, or even just a beer afterwork, the ways to show appreciation for your intern are endless.

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7. Plan Ahead

The fastest way to make your intern feel like their time is being wasted is by not giving them something to do. While there may be times when your team is too busy to stop and give your intern a project, you can mitigate the downtime by planning ahead. Create a list of ad hoc tasks that your intern can do in-between projects. You’ll keep them busy and your teams’ to-do list short!

8. Be Honest

The hardest one of all. Being honest and transparent, while difficult, is the best way to communicate with your intern — especially when it comes to the terms of the internship. If you don’t see the potential for them to join your team permanently, tell them. Remember: you want your intern to have a positive experience with your company, no matter what the long-term outcome is.


Head to Paddl HQ to read more about how interns can impact a growing business. Or, if you have any tips of your own to share, leave us a comment below!