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The First Week of the Internship – An Employer’s Guide 

By Galena Ilg
November 4 2020

Posted in Employer Resources

The First Week of the Internship - An Employer's Guide

So you’ve taken on a new intern – congratulations! Since we know it can be a bit daunting, here’s an easy list of top tips to help you ensure everything goes smoothly during the first week of the internship.

Plan the First Day For Your Intern

The first-day itinerary will look different for different employers. You might like to include casual first introductions between mentor and intern, a tour of the workplace, and distribution of any materials/equipment required for the role. If possible, organise a friendly catch up with your team so the intern can meet and get to know the people they’ll be working alongside. It’s always great to provide as much context as you can. A discussion about the company and its long-term goals can set the student up to really understand your organisation from day one. Consider providing an organised plan of what their first week/month will look like. This way the intern can feel a bit more prepared and they can continually refer to it when needed, which will give them more confidence in their role.

Handing over

If the intern is replacing a previous employee, consider setting up an onboarding/offboarding document to ensure a smooth handover. The old employee might compile a list of tips and instructions for the more technical parts of their role, and help the new employee learn to navigate new platforms before they leave.

The First Week of the Internship - An Employer's Guide

Check-in and communicate with your intern often. 

The best way to ensure your intern feels comfortable and supported in the new role is to organise regular meetings together, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes. It opens a clear and frequent line of communication, and the intern will feel more comfortable asking the many questions they are likely to come up with during their first week. Further, it’ll help you know in which areas of their role they feel confident, and where they might be learning from square one. Knowing these details will help both intern and employer set realistic expectations going forward. 

Create a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Interning can be a daunting business, and for many interns, it might be their first step into a formal workplace. To create a more welcoming environment, treat your intern as a new employee. Try to refer to them as a ‘new team member’, rather than just ‘the intern’. Include them in discussions, celebrate with cake, anything that allows them to feel they are part of the team (without being placed under the newbie spotlight)!

The first week of an internship is a major adjustment period for both intern and employer. Forward planning and open communication are key to ensuring the intern feels supported and confident as they move towards their first workplace tasks. We wish you success with your new team member, and feel free to contact us for more information or if you need further support. 


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