As fall approaches, many small businesses are hiring interns (paid and unpaid). Small businesses need lots of help, and sometimes, an intern or two seems like the perfect answer to getting tasks done. However, once the intern shows up for work, we don’t always know what to do with them. Here are a few suggestions for what NOT to do.
1. No Tasks that Involve Sensitive Information
If you want your business secrets to remain so, you may want to avoid giving your intern tasks that involve sensitive material. This does not mean to imply that your intern is untrustworthy. Interns, like your other employees, should have documentation, including confidentiality agreements or nondisclosure contracts. It can be a lot of paperwork for an internship that may last only a few months.
2. Not All Work Should be Photocopying and Gophering
We have all had internships that required lots of photocopying, tediously clipping out articles for the company “scrapbook,” and/or running for coffee/lunch/dry cleaning for our boss and our boss’ staff. Internships are designed to gain experience. Have clearly defined goals with your intern. Some menial tasks are okay, but in order to gain experience (and be beneficial to your company) interns need tasks that can be meaningful to all involved.
3. Just Because Interns Use Social Media, Doesn’t Mean They Should Do YOUR Social Media
Just because your intern is technologically savvy, doesn’t mean that they should represent your business on its social media networks. Internships are temporary and short. Social media branding is about your business’s brand. Using the wrong voice or making a misstep in the world of social media can be very difficult to negate and the effects are often long standing. Interns may use social media, but having them be the voice of your business may be too large of a task to ask of them.