Determine the Intern Experience

 The next step is to begin shaping the intern’s experience. Here are several things to consider:


•   How long will the internship be?

•   Who will manage, lead, and mentor the intern? Careful consideration should be given to leadership         style and workplace capacity to accommodate a trainee and keep them engaged for the duration of         the term

•   Will there be formal training on what the company is? Do you have in-house training programs?               Will you assign a training mentor or arrange for job shadowing? Is the work hands-on?

•   Consider designing a buddy system for the intern. A buddy could be someone inside or outside the         department who can familiarize the intern with the company’s culture, and provide informal                       mentorship


•   Develop a daily or weekly plan for activities and responsibilities

•   Create student and manger evaluations for the end of the internship

•   Prepare for a dialogue regarding the internship roles, expectations, and responsibilities.           (Students should take ownership of their internship, establishing goals with their managers on day           one)

Determine Successful Intern Criteria 

 After creating the framework for the internship, you can begin outlining what you will be looking for in an  intern. The following intern criteria should be considered:


•   Required skills, experience, and competencies

•   Level of education needed prior to the internship (For high school students, determine your criteria for     the internship: skills, marks, volunteering)

•   Are you interested in developing the intern for a possible full-time position?

Determine the Hiring Manager's Experience 


 Before securing a student, the hiring manager, and host department must be prepared.

 Here are some advanced planning considerations you can share with them:


•   Prepare interview protocol, questions, etc.


•   Who will vet applications?


•  Who will perform interviews?


•  Will there be more than one round of interviews?



 You are now ready to search for your Pathways intern. A combination of support from Pathways Canada  and  your local Pathways site will help spread the word about the exciting opportunity. Interviewing students who  have had little or no professional work experience can be intimating for both the  interviewee and the  interviewer. Here are some things to consider when interviewing a potential intern:

 •    Consider an ice-breaker before jumping into interview questions

 •    Craft questions that focus more on the interviewee’s personality or approach to work, rather than

      previous experiences. (Scenarios can be particularly helpful when a student has limited professional       experience)

 •    Wrap up by providing next-step logistical questions, such as when they will hear from you



After you have secured your new Pathways intern, it is time for orientation. Here are things to consider:


•    Students are being hired to gain experience, and not for a full-time role. This creates a different               expectation for an intern


•    You should provide Pathways orientation to all staff who will be involved in making the Pathways            experience a success


•    Within the intern’s orientation you should outline expectations, code of conduct, required training            duties,reporting officer and contacts, dress code, company values, and how and to whom to reach           out for questions and concerns

•    You should explain to the students how they can reach out for assistance, what is expected of them,        and how they can learn from any mistakes that may occur

     Setting Clear Goals With Your Intern

• Objectives can be defined by the student when they start their internship. The focus should  be               on outlining what the student would like to learn or gain during their time at a workplace

• Objectives allow the student to set clear, measurable, and attainable standards that they can                   evaluate at the end of their internship 

Objectives may be classified into the following categories:

•   Exposure to opportunities: May include personal growth and overcoming challenges, or               professional growth through learning about an industry/field

•   Skill development: This involves acquiring knowledge or techniques firsthand through working     in an industry that can be transferable to other fields 

•    Building social capital: Can be understood as the diversity of opportunities that a student has

     access to in their social circle. This can also include the community network  that a student has      at their disposal in order to explore a variety of career options and find what interests them.            Social capital is important for a student to have the opportunity to develop in order to open              doors to prospective jobs

•     Career exposure: Allows a student to discover an array of possible career avenues, the                 education or experience required to obtain different positions, and the variety of job                          opportunities that they may have been aware of prior to their internship

•     Experiences in a complimentary profession: Learning how to work in a new environment,          which can assist a student in discovering various areas of interest



           One of the final components of the intern’s and the organization’s experience is developing an evaluation                 framework. Here are several factors to consider regarding evaluations:


                  •     Evaluations should be a dialogue, and include areas of growth for both the student and the                                        internship program

                  •     Evaluations can only be as good as the design of the internship program

                  •     Final evaluations should occur at least two weeks before the conclusion of the internship to                                       provide time for questions and follow-up

                  •     This is an important step for both students and employers –it gives them the opportunity to evaluate                          their internship experience


•    It is beneficial for students to reflect on their employer and internship program in order to provide             feedback as to whether or not the organization cultivated an environment that allowed students to            reach their objectives

•    This information will be useful for the organizations as they work to build and improve student                   internship opportunities


•   Employer evaluations on a student intern will offer information as to whether or not the student has         met the organization’s professional expectations

•  This will benefit the employer in terms of making future hiring decisions and determining the                     requirements that they employer has in place for its interns              

Student Outcomes

•    Student outcomes are important to document in order to confirm whether or not the student met their        internship objectives 

•   To a student, a positive outcome could include the immersion into a professional environment at the        organization, which allowed the student to take on various responsibilities and learn about the                 workplace

•   Alternatively, a negative outcome may have been that a student was only given menial tasks                   throughout the internship; therefore they did not further develop employability skills

Preparing For

An Internship At

Your Organization

In order for an organization to successfully launch an internships program, detailed planning and design is required. We’ve create a step-by-step guide designed to help you with this.

As you prepare your internship program you will likely uncover other organizational needs. Here are a few other considerations:

•   Insurance (if applicable)

•    Rate of pay

•    Type of contractual agreement

•    Systems training


The first question a department or organization must ask itself is why are you interested in hosting an internship? Here are a few of the most common reasons:

  •  Diversification of the office

  •  Opportunities to develop careers for young people 

  •  Building a recruitment pool

  •   Providing opportunities for an organization like Pathways to Education to give students an internship                 experience

Organizational Support

Once you have established why you are interested in an internship, you must solidify organizational support.

Create a case/value proposition and garner support throughout your organization.  Internships are an organizational effort, so everyone must be on board for them to be effective.


Few More Considerations Before You Start Recruiting

© 2019 by Pathways to Education Canada