Evaluating a student’s internship performanceJune 28, 2011 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Support | 1 Comment
Your students are busy at their summer internships, and you may hear little from them. However, it’s important to find out if they’re experiencing any difficulties, so you can offer tips for improvement while it’s still fairly early in their internships. Here are several tips to help you track your interns’ performance:
- Social Media: Many students are blogging or posting on Facebook or tweeting on Twitter about their experiences, which would help you to chart their activities. If your students express interest in blogging, suggest that they study Eye of the Intern blog on internships.com as a model. A recent topic was “Should interns drink at after-work social events?” For other examples, they could read these recent blogs and postings on USA TODAY College: Is your internship turning out to be an epic fail? Here’s how to deal. College Crush: Dating during your internship — should you go there? Opinion: Unpaid internships are a bad investment. Be sure to caution your students not to write anything that would embarrass them later in their careers.
- Weekly reports: If you’re already receiving a daily or weekly journal report from the intern, you can assess your student’s performance by reviewing that document. However, if your center, like many others, only requires an end-of-internship report, then you might want to schedule a weekly email exchange to ensure that you are able to assess a student’s performance and offer tips on improvement in a timely manner. Compare the student’s reports, whether online or in a journal, with the description of the internship provided by the company. The two should be fairly close matches. If you note discrepancies, you might have to sort out a problem or find out if company expectations have changed.
- Performance surveys: Develop a brief survey based on performance questions and send appropriate versions to both the student and the intern supervisor. Review the answers to discover any performance issues and follow up with helpful tips to the respondents. A survey can be a comfortable, non-threatening way to reveal problems, avoiding face-to-face confrontation. If the survey raises questions, follow the survey up with a phone call to the internship supervisor, inquiring as to how your student could add more value to the company. Then, communicate your findings to your student.
- Communication: Plan an on-site visit if geographically possible. Your visit demonstrates your sincere interest in your student’s success and in the company’s satisfaction with the intern. Arrange a meeting with the student and supervisor, so you can evaluate their interactions. If you find dissatisfaction on either side, you may be able to decide if it is based on personal conflict rather than professional issues. If an on-site visit is not practical, you might want to make sure the student intern and the supervisor have your phone number, where they can reach you easily. You may even have a designated email address for your interns and supervisors, emphasizing the importance of their communications and creating a comfort zone for everyone.