Are You Ready for an Intern or Student Worker?
Written by Heather Howiler, Cleveland Heights/University Heights Public Library
If your institution is new to hosting an intern or a practicum student there are several things you should think about before saying “yes.”
Do you have the time and staff to supervisor and/or train an intern/student?
- Sure, interns/students are there to help out. But, most importantly, they are there to learn and will need experienced staff members to help guide them.
Does your institution have an internship/practicum program, or at least written procedures and checklists, in place for hosting interns/students?
- Creating a student program or checklists/procedures will ensure consistency from student to student. It will also help establish guidelines for working at your institution.
If a student is doing a practicum, are you able to meet the academic institution’s requirements for the practicum? Are you able to schedule a student for the required number of on-site hours? Are you able to help the student with the required project?
- Again, do you have the time to properly supervisor a student?
If there’s a specific project to be completed at your institution, do you have a written project description outlining student qualifications, time frame and name of contact person or supervisor?
- A clearly written project description will avoid confusion and will help the intern/student understand what work is to be done.
Do you have potential interns/students submit applications, resumes and transcripts? Do you interview applicants before they begin an internship or practicum at your institution?
- The only way to find out if an intern/student is the right fit for a project is to sit down and talk to them. This is an opportunity for the possible intern/student to share their skills and experiences with you.
Do you have an orientation for new interns/students?
- Just as you would with a new employee, you want schedule new interns/students for an orientation – show them where the staff room is, introduce them to staff, cover exceptions, dress code, etc. This will help them feel comfortable while working at your institution.
Upon completion of an internship/practicum, do interns/students complete an evaluation of their experience? Does someone in your institution do an exit interview with the intern/student?
- Feedback is a good way to improve your intern/student program.