Utilizing Internships To Help Grow Your Business
There’s not a business in the world that can’t benefit from a fresh set of eyes with a new perspective every so often. Properly utilized, internships can provide businesses a great source of inspiration, and who knows, you might find someone you want to hire on full-time.
Follow these tips to make an internship a valuable experience not only for the intern, but for your business as well.
Expectations And Culture
If you’ve conducted an interview before, you know that skill questions are important, but just as important is whether this person is going to fit in with the rest of your team. Being a good cultural fit and conveying those expectations going in is the ante to play before anything else and makes the process easier on everyone involved.
Interns need to understand the importance of company culture, from how you work with team members to how you talk about a certain topic with clients and the values you won’t compromise on. All that defines who you are as a business.
Be Willing To Teach
To make a meaningful contribution to your business, you need to be willing to teach. Remember that the whole point of internships is to learn more about a certain career and gain experience in it. It’s to prepare that person for a job in the real world and help them develop the skills necessary to do that job.
If a person wants to work in the mortgage industry, they’ll need to learn about mortgages, the process, the products, and the clients and their motivations. They’ll need to know how every area of the mortgage business works together. If you know how the puzzle pieces fit, it’s a lot easier to see the impact you make and also find efficiencies.
Share with your interns how it's important to make first-time home buyers more comfortable with the mortgage process. Walk them through the mortgage products that you offer and their advantages. Have them listen in on a sales call or teach them about the less glamorous (but equally important) things like fair lending practices.
This can be beneficial for you, too. Teaching your intern may require you to refresh your knowledge of the industry as well and even learn a few new things yourself.
Part of teaching is also listening. Allow your interns to ask questions and ask them to provide their input as well. Remember, new eyes can often bring about new ideas and better solutions. Interns can often be a voice for younger generations. They know the trends and can help think of new ways to market to clients and new technologies to use. They aren’t stuck in the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality because they’re new – not only to the business, but also the industry. Because of this, they may have ideas that can make your business stand out among your competitors.
One great thing to try is to give your interns a project to complete by the end of their internships. They must present a brand-new lead generating idea to the company. Make it fun by giving a prize to the winning idea. Not only can this help your business find new and exciting ways to reach clients, it also helps interns learn how to brainstorm, put together a strategy and present.
Let Interns Contribute
It can be hard to let go of the reins or trust someone who may be less experienced to get the job done, but you’re hurting yourself and your intern by hovering over their work and holding their hand through it all. Hand holding won’t allow them to fail. And we can learn a lot from failing. It’s also important to remember that they won’t have someone holding their hand in the real world, so you’re doing a disservice to them by doing everything for them. Not only that, but you’re giving yourself more work. One of the best parts of having interns is that they can help take some of the work off your plate. Let them do it.
Give them space to shine. By empowering your interns, you’ll be amazed at the great thinking and energy many of them will show. They can also get real, tangible work they can put into a portfolio to show to potential future employers.
This is also a great opportunity to leverage what they know. If they have strong writing skills, have them work on a blog about your marketing. A data wizard might be good for your operations staff. If they know code and user experience design, they can add something valuable to your company’s website. If they’re social butterflies who know social media algorithms, have them help with or lead a social campaign. The possibilities are endless! Just make sure it’s meaningful for both your intern and your company.