The Anatomy of an Intern Manager

This post is part of an ongoing series, How to Hire Interns. Watch this space for frequent updates!

Anatomy of an Intern ManagerBefore you post an internship and send out the call for qualified candidates, it’s crucial to identify an intern supervisor who will be the point person throughout the program. Interns who arrive without a manager will struggle to find their place in the company and loiter around the water cooler in search of something meaningful to do. Unless your goal is to hire a human coat rack, make sure you designate someone to lead the way. Here’s how to spot the right person!

Corrective lenses. Glasses, contacts, or a general intensity around the eyes should signal to you that this manager is well versed in overseeing others. Depending on the work culture you’re trying to foster, you want a manager who checks in frequently, or who knows how to track progress from afar. In either case, he or she is comfortable with walking new interns through work processes, acquainting them with fellow employees, and providing guidance when appropriate.

A wristwatch. This handy timekeeping device demonstrates how organized your manager is with time, and by extension, projects. Becoming responsible for a newly hired intern can get out of hand for employees who are already stretching their limits, so appoint someone who has the time allowance to be an effective manager. This entails weekly or biweekly meetings, answering questions, and general training.

The latest version of _____. Whether it’s the latest download of the Mac operating system or the most recent update to the Yelp app, your manager is on top of relevant programs and tools. A successful manager introduces interns to skills that increase their value as full-time employees. This ensures that the student is gaining practical work experience that can be transferred to different roles.

A solid handshake. Be wary of managers who dislike working with others. The ideal manager is friendly and approachable, but also professional and assertive. He or she is theoretically poised to address problems ranging from the trivial to the serious, so be sure that your supervisor is just as capable of diffusing situations as they are of stoking enthusiasm.

We’re kidding, of course. An intern manager may have 20/20 vision, a freckle past a hair in place of a watch, a phone from 2001, and a limp handshake—and still be wonderful in the role. What’s important is that he or she has the experience, willingness, and capability to guide students as they tackle their own projects.

Think you’ve found the one? When you’re ready, the next step is to hire an intern!

Image provided by Patrick J. Lynch under the Creative Commons license

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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is VP of Marketing and co-founder of Looksharp. He has spent the past decade helping students launch their career, researching best practices for hiring millennials (including running Looksharp's annual "State of College Hiring") and sharing these insights with employers. Nathan's work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider and more. Outside of work, Nathan is an avid rock climber, back packer and Bob Dylan fan.