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Hiring an Intern? Developing an intern program?
Internships and cooperative education are semester-long experiential education work experiences related to a student's major. Opportunities can be full or part time and are normally available to undergraduates in their junior and senior year and to graduate students.
Attend the annual Co-op/Intern Fair held each winter. For more information contact:
- Parallel - students work part-time and study part-time for two or more consecutive semesters
- Alternating - students alternate full-time work one semester and study the next
Outstanding student with a very high degree of enthusiasm and dedication to learning and working; collegial, honest, sincere, motivated and willing to listen to and benefited from constructive criticism; a very bright person who assimilated and learned.
- Offer an opportunity related to one or more aspects of a student's academic program
- Provide adequate supervision, guidance, and resources for students to carry out their assignments
- Communicate with your intern's faculty supervisor or CMC Liaison about student progress or issues
- Complete an evaluation, provided by the CMC, at the end of each work semester
- Excellent source of energetic and enthusiastic workers to assist you with special projects or day-to-day operations
- Opportunity to evaluate candidates in a real work situation before offering a permanent position
- Enhance the image of your organization on campus, making it easier to attract high quality graduates
Regardless of compensation interns should enjoy similar protection in the work setting consistent with all laws, ethical considerations, and sound business practices.
Best Practice #1: Provide interns with real work assignments.*
Providing interns with real work is number one to ensuring your program's success. Interns should be doing work related to their major, that is challenging, that is recognized by the organization as valuable, and that fills the entire work term.
You can guarantee that hiring managers provide real work assignments by checking job descriptions, emphasizing the importance of real work assignments during a manager/mentor orientation sessions, and communicating with interns frequently throughout the work term to determine who they perceive what they are doing.
*Note: The best practices presented here assume the organization's goal is to convert interns to full-time hires and is therefore paying its interns. Unpaid internships present a number of problems for organizations focused on intern conversion, not the least of which is legal issues that arise if the unpaid intern is given real work assignments.
Best Practice #2: Hold orientations for all involved.
It's important that everyone "be on the same page," so to speak. Make this happen by holding an orientation session for managers and mentors as well as a session for students. Orientations ensure that everyone starts with the same expectations and role definitions. This is time well spent-the effort you put into these sessions will pay off throughout the program.
Best Practice #3: Provide interns with a handbook and/or website.
Whether in paper booklet format, or presented as a special section on your website, a handbook serves as a guide for students, answering frequently asked questions and communicating the "rules" in a warm and welcoming way.
A separate intern website serves many of the purposes of the handbook, but has the advantage of being easy to change. You can use your website as a communication tool, with announcements from the college relations staff or even articles of interest written by the interns themselves.
Best Practice #4: Provide housing and relocation assistance.
Few employers can afford to provide fully paid housing for interns, but you'll find that you get a lot of appreciations if you offer any kind of assistance toward housing expenses. If that's not possible, provide assistance in locating affordable housing: For those relocating to the job site, the prospect of finding affordable, short-term housing can be daunting. Easy availability of affordable housing will make your opportunity the more attractive to students, broadening your pool of candidates.
If you can pay for all or some of your interns' housing, be sure to design (and stick to) a clear policy detailing who is eligible. This will eliminate any perceptions of unequal treatment. In addition, be aware that employer-paid or employer-subsidized housing is considered a taxable benefit. Check with your internal tax department on exceptions to this.
You will also want to consider the issue of relocation, which is separate although related to housing. Many organizations pay some or all of their interns' relocation expenses to and/or from the job site.
Best Practice #5: Offer scholarships.
Pairing a scholarship with your internship is a great way to recruit for your internship program-and this is especially true if you are having difficulty attracting a particular type of student or student with a specific skill set to your program. Attaching a scholarship can increase your pool of candidates with the desired qualifications.
Best Practice #6: Offer flex-time and/or other unusual work arrangements.
Students mention flex-time as one of their most-desired features in a job. (A flexible time schedule during their internship eases their transition to the workplace.)
If you think about how students spend the day on campus (varied schedule each day, with varied activities such as work, class, social time), you can understand that 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday is a bit of an adjustment for them. A flexible schedule can make them feel less chained in by an unchanging routine.
Other work arrangements that have been found successful with students include keeping them on as part-time, remote employees after they go back to school (depending on the type of work they do for you and whether they have a willing manager), and having them come back and work over school breaks for a couple of weeks. These are excellent ways to keep communications open and build a stronger bond.
Best Practice #7: Have an intern manager.
Having a dedicated manager for your intern program is the best way to ensure that it runs smoothly and stays focused on your criteria for success. Unfortunately, the size and resources available to most internship programs mean that this isn't always possible. If your program isn't big enough to warrant a dedicated full-time staff member, an excellent short-term solution is to hire a graduate student (look for a student working toward an advanced HR degree) to be your intern, and put this college relations intern in charge of the daily operation of the internship program. This gives the interns a "go-to" person, and gives you and your staff a break from the many daily tasks involved in running a program of any size. For this to work, you have to plan the program structure in advance (don't expect your intern to do it), and be very accessible to your college relations intern. A sample of responsibilities for your college relations intern appears at the end of this chapter.
Best Practice #8: Encourage team involvement.
Involve your college recruiting teams-whether they are "volunteers" who participate in college recruiting, staff members dedicated to college recruiting, or some combination of both-in your intern program. They can sponsor social or professional development events, and help to orient the interns to your company culture. In my experience, college team members served as cooks at intern picnics, hosts at speaker events, and drivers for social outings such as ball games.
Best Practice #9: Invite career center staff and faculty to visit interns on site.
Although some programs-especially those that are very structured on the university side-make visits by career center staff and faculty a regular practice, most do not. In general, career center staff and faculty members have relatively few opportunities to visit employer work sites to see firsthand the types of experiences that their students are getting. By inviting them to your site, you will build a better working relationship with these groups, which can lead to more student referrals, enhanced campus visibility, and increased flexibility on their parts when your business needs dictate it.
Best Practice #10: Hold new-hire panels.
New-hire panels are one of the best ways to showcase an organization to interns as a great place to work. These are panels of five or six people who were hired as new grads within the last three years. They act as panelists in a meeting of interns, giving a brief summary of their background and then answering questions from the intern audience. Your interns get insight about your organization from your new hires-people who they perceive are like themselves and who they consequently view as credible sources of information.
In these meetings, I've found that the interns consistently bring up the same topics: Why did you choose this employer over others? What was your first year like? How is being a full-time employee here different from being an intern? Do you recommend getting a graduate degree? In the same field, or an M.B.A.? Is it better to go straight to graduate school after the bachelor's or better to work a while?
It's also fairly consistent that the new hires will offer other types of advice to your interns, such as how to handle finances those first couple of years out of school. (Their typical advice: Don't run right out and buy a new car, and, Start contributing the maximum to your savings plan as soon as you are allowed.)
College relations staff should attend these sessions, but should remain unobtrusive, staying in the back of the room so as not to stifle the conversation. By being there, you stay aware of what is on the minds of your target group, and you can answer any detailed questions that may come up, such as those related to benefits.
Best Practice #11: Bring in speakers from your company's executive ranks.
One of the greatest advantages to students in having internships is the access they get to accomplished professionals in their field. Consequently, speakers from the executive ranks are very popular with students-it's a great career development and role modeling experience for interns. Having a CEO speak is especially impressive. Best scenario: Your CEO speaker is personable, willing to answer questions, and willing and able to spend a little informal time with the students after speaking-your interns will be quite impressed.
For you, having your executives speak to interns is another way to "sell" your organization to the interns, and get your executives invested in (and supporting) your program.
Best Practice #12: Offer training/encourage outside classes.
Providing students with access to in-house training-both in work-skills-related areas, such as a computer language, and in general skills areas, such as time management-is a tangible way to show students you are interested in their development.
You may also want to consider providing interns with information about nearby community colleges: Many students will be interested in attending during their work term to take care of some electives and/or get a little ahead with the hours they need to graduate. If you have the budget, you may also want to consider paying the tuition for courses they take while working for you, but, as is the case with housing, any assistance you can provide-even if it's just providing them with information about local schools-will earn you points with students.
Best Practice #13: Conduct focus groups/surveys.
Conducting focus groups and feedback surveys with these representatives of your target group is a great way to see your organization as the students see it. Focus groups in particular can yield information about what your competitors are doing that students find appealing.
Best Practice #14: Showcase intern work through presentations/expo.
Students work very hard at completing their work and are generally proud of their accomplishments. Setting up a venue for them to do presentations (formal presentations or in a fair-type setting such as an expo) not only allows them to demonstrate their achievements, but also showcases the internship program to all employees.
Best Practice #15: Conduct exit interviews.
Whether face-to-face or over the telephone, a real-time exit interview done by a member of the college relations team is an excellent way to gather feedback on the student's experience and to assess their interest in coming back. Having the students fill out an exit survey and bring it to the interview gives some structure to the conversation.
Excerpted from Building a Premier Internship Program: A Practical Guide for Employers
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder. www.naceweb.org.
If a student who has done an internship with your organization asks to use your name as a reference for a job application, here are some tips:
1. Discuss the type of reference that you will provide with the person who asks you to be a reference. If you cannot provide a good reference, be honest with the individual. Don't promise a "glowing reference" and then provide merely a "glimmer."
2. Follow your organization's policy regarding providing a reference. If references are handled in a centralized fashion, advise the prospective employer that even though you may be named as a reference, your organization's policy prohibits you from providing the reference. Direct the employer to the appropriate person in the organization.
3.Respond only to specific inquiries; do not volunteer information.
4.There is no such thing as "off the record." Informal discussions with prospective employers regarding a person's performance should be avoided.
5. Prior to providing a reference, obtain consent from the person about whom the reference will be given. If you are unaware that the job applicant has named you as a reference, ask the prospective employer for verification that the individual has given consent for the reference. Such verification could include a copy of the student's signed application listing you as a reference, your name listed as a reference on the student's resume, or verbal confirmation by the student to you.
6. Do not include information that might indicate an individual's race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship status, sex, or marital status.
7. Do not base an opinion of performance on stereotypes about an individual. For example, "for a woman, she excels in math."
8. Information should be factual, based upon personal knowledge/observation of the student through direct contact, or obtained from the personnel record or student record.
9. Avoid giving personal opinions or feelings. If you make subjective statements or give opinions because they are requested, clearly identify them as opinions and not as fact.
10. Do not guess or speculate. If someone asks you questions regarding personal characteristic about which you have no knowledge, sate that you have no knowledge.
11. Relate references to the specific position for which the student has applied and to the work that the applicant will perform.
12. State in the reference letter: "This information is confidential and should be treated as such. It is provided at the request of (name of student), who has asked me to serve as a reference.
13. Document all information you release.
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder. www.naceweb.org
Summer Jobs Fest
Summer Jobs Fest each spring to help connect ODU students with seasonal employment.
Learn and Earn Advantage Program (LEAP)
The Learn and Earn Advantage Program (LEAP) offers 1st year undergraduate students the opportunity to be selected for part-time on campus jobs with ODU departments. Students are hired through and payroll administered by the Career Management Center Student Employment Team. LEAP student Job Categories: Event Assistant, Office Assistant, Academic Assistant, ODU Support Services. Jobs average 10-15 hours per week. Please contact email@example.com more information on obtaining a LEAP Student.
Learn and Earn Advantage Program 2 (LEAP 2)
The Learn and Earn Advantage Program 2 (LEAP2) offers 2nd year undergraduates who were in LEAP the past year, an opportunity to receive a pre-internship experience. Students are often placed directly in field of interest or study with a more hands on guidance from their supervisors. Students are hired through and payroll administered by the Career Management Center Student Employment Team. LEAP 2 student Job Categories: Event Assistant, Office Assistant, Academic Assistant, ODU Support Services. Jobs average 10-15 hours per week. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org more information on obtaining a LEAP 2 Student.
Temporary Student Assistance On Campus
The Student Temporary Assist Team (STAT) program is an on-campus only temporary agency allowing University departments to utilize CMC managed students for short-term assignments and special projects. The CMC Student Employment Team processes all of the STAT E-1s paperwork and payroll.
Federal Work Study
The Career Management Center oversees all of the Federal Work-study (FWS) positions on campus. Campus offices and department must post all FWS positions though ODU CareerLink. Students are hired by the office while payroll administered by the Career Management Center Student Employment Team. Please contact email@example.com more information on posting and hiring for your FWS positions.
The CMC will help all departments with FWS student openings post positions and process all hiring paperwork. Once a student is hired and working through your department, the CMC will monitor each student's FWS balance as well as your departments overall FWS budget allotment. Supervisors and students will get notifications for any FWS changes as well as updates on balances and other depletion milestones.
Overall, your day to day operations with FWS students will not change much. What will change is how departments post all FWS jobs in CareerLink, and how the CMC processes the hiring paperwork and monitors the FWS payrolls. All departments will still hire the student(s) that best fit their needs, set the student's schedules, as well as train and mentor the student(s). Please contact CMC Student Employment if you need help starting the process.
In order to better manage the entire budget of Federal Work-study funds, the University has decided to centralize the FWS hiring process through the Career Management Center. This will allow the university to maximize its funding potential and limit the risk of losing any future funds. If you had a FWS budget in the most recent fiscal year, you should expect roughly the same allotment for the upcoming fiscal year. Please check with your Fiscal Technician to see if there is a budget item for FWS in the last budget cycle.
If you have been allocated a FWS budget, you can log into ODU CareerLink and post your position. You need to identify how you want students to apply (via online or in person) and limit your position to FWS only. Once your position is approved, it will be posted online and made available for student applications.
You will first need to register as an employer in CareerLink by completing an Employer Registration. Once your account is verified, you will receive a Welcome Email containing your login credentials. Use the provided link to login as an employer. Select jobs from your CareerLink Toolbar. Make sure that "Single School Postings" is highlighted then select "+Add New" from the bottom of your screen. Fill out all required fields and submit. Once your position is approved, it will be posted online and made available for student applications.
Community Service Internship (CSI)
CSI gives Federal Work Study (FWS) students an opportunity to earn their award by working for a variety of qualifying on-campus and off-campus non-profit or governmental agencies in the local area. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org more information on obtaining a CSI Student.
America Reads & America Counts
America Reads and America Counts are federally sponsored programs that place college students in local elementary schools to tutor students in reading and math. This service is provided at no cost to the schools and not only benefits the children with skill development but also provides them the opportunity to interact with college students who can become role models for their future educational and social aspirations. Please contact email@example.com for more information on obtaining an America Reads or an America Counts tutor.
The CMC provides a full complement of events, services, and facilities to recruite new graduates and alumni for your entry level and experienced professional positions.
Services are available to all ODU students and alumni and their immediate family including members of the Armed Forces creating a diverse candidate pool by demographics and experience level.
CMC staff are dedicated to serving your needs on and off campus. Our E-team includes an Employer Recruitment Consultant, a Career Fair and On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator, multiple job posting assistants and a Director of Employer Programs who is an HR professional.
All employer services fall under our Recruiting Advantage Program which includes:
- Individual Recruitment Action Plans (IRAP) developed to provide a full year of recruitment activities coordinated to your specific schedule and needs. IRAPs are developed in consultation with the Director of Employer Programs and the Employer Recruitment Consultant.
- On-campus recruiting utilizing our six professional interview rooms, lounge, and support from dedicated staff
- Information sessions for both general and specific on campus audiences
- Career Fairs and networking events scheduled throughout the year
Workplace diversity means creating an inclusive environment that embraces people's individual differences and provides opportunities for all staff to achieve their full potential. When staff are encouraged to work in their areas of strength and capability, they are happier, more productive and more likely to stay with the organization.
Valuing individual diversity means reaching beyond stereotypical views of individuals and using the strengths and different perspectives that each person offers as a result of his or her culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, and age.
Recognizing diversity allows employees to feel needed and have a sense of belonging, which in turn increases their commitment to the company and allows each person to contribute in a unique way. Maintaining a diverse workforce also helps build trust and reassurance, reduces absenteeism and workplace bullying, and minimizes workplace conflicts, as well as safety and health concern.
Retaining a diverse workforce is as easy as respecting people and embracing the differences that exist in your organization. You can also include diversity as part of your mission statement and display it on your website. This works both for recruiting and retaining a diverse staff. As well be aware of your own biases and stereotypes and integrate diversity training into your work environment.
Employees stay at organizations because they feel valued, respected, and appreciated.
Great ways to engage diverse talent are through executive/leadership-development programs and ongoing mentoring for promotional opportunities. Employees should be encouraged at every level to participate in the diversity process.