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Pre-internship Checklist: 10 Steps to Plan a Successful Summer Internship program

Published by Meghana Machiraju on May 4, 2022
3 min read

Meghana Machiraju

Meghana Machiraju is a B2B content marketing professional at Symba. Previously, Meghana worked as a Content Marketing Lead for a SaaS healthcare startup. She holds a Masters in Marketing from Schulich School of Business, Canada, and an MBA in Advertising from Symbiosis International University, India. Outside of work, you will find her traveling or looking for the next vegetarian restaurant to go to!

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Planning an internship program can be nerve-racking regardless of how big your internship program is. The pre-internship planning phase specifically can be extremely complex and involves multiple tasks from identifying program goals and ensuring leadership alignment to setting up the infrastructure required to run your program. Being well prepared for a remote internship ensures a smooth-running and productive program for all the stakeholders involved - interns, managers, mentors, and you and your UR team. 

Symba has created a pre-internship program checklist just for you! Its goal is to help you set the foundation right for your remote internship program before you start implementing it. 

Here’s a sneak peek of all the pre-internship tasks that are included in the checklist: 

  1. Identify internship program goals

What are your goals and key takeaways for your internship program? Maybe you want to increase employee retention, build your talent pipeline or diversify your teams. If you have several objectives outlined, rank them in order of priority.  

  1. Determine key metrics

With your goals outlined, determine the metrics you will leverage to measure the success of these program goals. If your goal is to diversify your talent pool, then your metrics should include gathering demographic data of your applicants, internship cohort, and full-time converted interns. For more details on key metrics to measure internship program success, check out our key metrics workbook!

  1. Ensure leadership alignment

Ensuring leadership buy-in essentially means preempting the questions and objectives your key stakeholders will have. This involves discussing what metrics are most important to your leadership and listing out pain points they have that the internship program can solve. Preparing informed responses to their potential questions can help secure their support and alignment. 

  1. Forecast internship hiring demand 

Of course, before launching, calculate how many new hire positions your company’s departments have available for the year. Calculate your company’s intern-to-full time conversion rate to determine how many interns you’ll need to source to meet the allotted positions. 

  1. Coordinate program logistics

Now that you have leadership support, your hiring demand forecast, and the metrics needed to reach your goals, you can begin to coordinate program logistics. Some of those logistics include calculating the total program budget, laying out the timeline and duration for each internship season, deciding intern stipend amount and other compensation, and more!

  1. Decide application, recruitment, and interview processes

Decide which job platforms to post on, how many and types of interviews to conduct, have clear deadlines, and delegate team responsibilities to prevent a frenzy when applications start rolling in. 

  1. Train the intern managers

Base your intern managers’ training around your goals for the program. If the priority is to improve company diversity, then train managers on your company’s DEI policies and practical ways to implement equity, inclusion, and belonging within their internship cohorts. They may also need training on how to conduct interviews and perform evaluations in an unbiased manner.

  1. Plan cohort-wide community building and engagement activities

Your first step in community development is to create opportunities for connection. Begin by establishing a manageable cadence of program activities, ideally offering at least one type of event per week spaced evenly throughout the program (including before and after).

  1. Set up infrastructure required for the internship program

To run an internship successfully, you will need several tools and platforms in place such as overall internship program management tools (Symba), applicant tracking tools (Workday, Greenhouse), communication platforms (Slack), and more. In this checklist, you will find an extensive list of tools that could help you run your remote internship smoothly. 

  1. Create an intern manual

Closer to the start of the internship program, create an intern manual with details such as mission, vision, organization structure, virtual office rules and policies, intern’s responsibilities, and more! 

If this sneak peek has you pumped on launching an exciting and successful internship program, then check out the full pre-internship program checklist for employers here! Symba has helped over 5,000 internships come to fruition, and yours is next. 

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