One of the key differences between an internship and regular employment is the mutual understanding that the position is meant to be a temporary experience. In that light, employers and students alike should embrace the end of the internship with a much different approach.
First, don’t view internship end as termination. Many interns often feel a negative atmosphere around the end of the session. However, this is not a failure but a graduation of the student intern, not only from their employment, but likely from their degree program. The internship experience is typically the final course taken.
Next, be thankful for the intern’s contributions and show your appreciation. The employer should create a celebration for the intern and acknowledge the help they provided during the quarter or semester. It can be as simple as a meeting and handshake or more elaborate involving cake and a certificate of achievement. Regardless, make sure your intern knows that their work did not go unnoticed.
Finally, remember that the student provides a unique perspective to the organization. You should not let their viewpoint go to waste. Remember to solicit their feedback on the organization. An exit interview can often be a valuable tool in gathering this information.
Of course, the best conclusion of any internship is extended employment. The ultimate measure of success includes an offer for permanent employment, which we always encourage companies to do. However, we realize that is not always an option for a multitude of reasons. Remember, the student is an ambassador for your company, don’t waste the success of an internship by not appropriately off boarding them from your organization.
By Shane S. Kirby, MBA
Internship Program Coordinator
Business Programs, Integrated Media & Technology
Columbus State Community College