How to deliver a successful internship programme

Looking to build great relationships with your interns so that your company can benefit from their valuable talent, skills, and energy in the future? Whether you’re hoping that your interns will return to you soon as fresh graduates or as well-seasoned professionals further down the line, there is a lot you can do to tee your internship programme up for success.


To address the challenge, there are six key areas to focus on. So says the Wall Street Journal in a recent article which we summarise for you below.

  1. Set realistic expectations

It’s tempting to dazzle interns with a succession of meals at fabulous restaurants. But if you don’t provide a realistic view of daily life at your company, you’re setting your future employees up for disappointment. So present your interns with a balanced view of corporate life. Give them real projects to work on. If they want to return – based on their accurate perceptions of your company – they’ll be much more likely to stick around.


  1. Invest time in building a meaningful relationship with your interns

Make a point of allocating time regularly to get to know your interns on a one-to-one basis. Find out about their passions and enquire how they’re getting on. Two or three conversations spread out over three months will do much to foster a positive relationship where interns feel valued.


  1. Make plans!

Interns will only be with you for a short time so the pressure is on to make every day count! You could focus the first week’s activity on making introductions and onboarding. Each successive week could focus on working for a different department. For the final week, the intern could decide which department to work for or they could help out your company’s charity of choice.


  1. Encourage multi-tasking

Be mindful that multi-tasking helps avoid boredom and maximises the learning curve.


  1. Check-in daily

It’s important to find someone – ideally close to the intern’s age – who will take an active, genuine interest in what they’re working on at the end of every day. This enables the intern to address any concerns, tap into their mentor’s knowledge, get a sense of the bigger picture, and feel confident and valued.


  1. Stay in touch

Interns are more likely to return to your company if you take the time and trouble to stay in contact. This might translate to inviting them to webinars, calling them from time to time, and/or sharing company news with them on social media and via email.


In short, the best internships set interns up to have a varied, positive, realistic experience of what working for your company is really like. Please let us know if you’d like to add any other tips to the list.


If you’re currently recruiting and would like some expert help finding talented, best-fit candidates, please get in touch. ABL Recruitment is the UK’s number one multilingual recruitment consultancy and we’re here to help! Please call us at 020 7092 3911 or email us at to discover the time, cost, and hiring outcome benefits of partnering with us. We hope to hear from you soon!