When I was in college all I cared about was my 12 to 7 dance practice sessions. I never took up any internship like other students did. To be honest, I didn’t really want to take up any internships because dance was all I used to breath and live for, apart from the fact that there was no actual time left. However, I did maintain close contact with other students from my class who applied for internships or looked for companies open to hire young talent. Some chose Red Bull to ‘get the wings’, some flew out to European countries for a more exotic experience and some settled for rather small startups to get the hang of corporate life. Bottom line - They all are looking for an internship for the same sample of reasons to become interns.
Here is an article by Forbes that talks about students at different stages before an internship-
- Looking forward to bagging the internship of their dream
- Setting high expectations from the internship
- Getting to work on different projects
- Being disappointed for not getting enough responsibilities
- No real work even in well-compensated industries
There are many other aspects to this but the point is to discuss the real reasons why students look for an internship and how you can manage them better.
People are the real opportunity
College is the most influential phase in a student’s life. Here they realise where they currently stand and where they want to be in the next 4-5 years. It’s the best time to make friends who stay for life, build a rapport with professors who will later help them with LORs, join societies where they can learn the arts of life and go for trips and out-station fests for a broader experience. These are all for meeting new people and building long-lasting connections. That’s why the current generation is called the generation of socialisers.
So if you are planning to hire a team of interns, don’t expect from them to learn the rules and follow the set protocol because they honestly wouldn’t care much. They are there in your company to talk to people, reach out to the upper management and leadership, add more connections to their LinkedIn profile and probably even increase followers on their Instagram account. 98% of the office schmucks will try to get the team of interns do their routine tasks or bring the morning cup of coffee for them. Trust me, interns will go ahead and willingly do it because they care for the remaining 2% with whom they have a real chance of building a connection.
Interns need an excuse to voice them
If you were an active part of the college debating society or have attended any of the debating sessions, you would have witnessed the whole fierce fighting show. Most of these sessions are no less than one of a Lok Sabha replica. This is not just limited to the debating society. You see the true side of the youth during the time of elections. Students are seen shouting slogans on loudspeakers, conducting mass level campaigns in Universities outside colleges and showering their pamphlets everywhere possible. In most of the areas of Delhi University you literally cannot see the roads because they are full of pamphlets.
Therefore, students just look for an excuse to voice their opinions. They want to see how people react to their ideas. Some of them are afraid and won’t show it but still crave for exposure and look for a platform to share ideas. They may be right, they may be wrong, either way they want to know ‘why?’.
A gentle pro tip while working with interns:
- Listen to their thought even if you don’t like the idea behind the thought.
- If you corroborate your opinion with a valid reason they will respect you and come to you for more help.
- Focus on building a conversation with them rather than pinning your opinions. All they want to do is to grow.
The more the merrier
We are raised with the opinion that individual contribution is more important than to learn how to work as a team. This is the very reason why examinations are conducted and students become so competitive that they want to outrank every other student in the class to stand out. However, reality hits them hard in college when they watch teams working together on projects, plays, dance dramas and other activities and excel in their respective fields.
With the new realisation in mind students want to collaborate with their peers and work on common ideas, solve problems, innovate something new, discover simpler ways to get things done and enjoy their Eureka point. To all of this, an internship gives a more professional touch. They don’t really understand the existence or importance of KRAs and KPIs as interns but they do care about the outcome of their work. They want to know if their inputs are productive or not. According to you, you are on-boarding inexperienced labour but for them, they are millennials who live with the passion to change the world.
So if you hire a team of interns to just pay them, you might want to reconsider. There is so much that they can do for you with a fresh mind and the right amount of training.
Because why not?
You must be wondering why I put this one towards the end. It is considered to be the most popular criteria for students to look for an internship. It is the driving force of our economy and the most crucial factor to keep striving for improvement. No, I wasn’t saving the best for the last. I have my own reasons.
Of course, college students have requirements for which their monthly allowance is never enough. So, they look for alternatives to get some extra income and make ends meet. Having said that, it is also true that money isn’t the only driving factor that encourages students to look for internships. It might be one of the reason but not the soul reason, for sure. Especially the ones who are dedicated and want to explore new territories in innovation, technology, digital disruption and artificial intelligence. They are simply looking for a platform to learn and grow. In fact, there are many students who surpass paid internships and settle for the unpaid ones where they see even the slightest opportunity to learn something new.
Another bottom line? Your interns will not let you down if you don’t let them down.