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The Exit Interview: Never Let the Opportunity to Learn Leave

It’s late July, and our summer internship program has been in full swing for two months. It’s going by so fast and for some, almost too fast! Due to scheduling needs, a few of our interns have already finished their time with us as they prepare for school or travel.

While having some interns leave during the middle of the summer initially concerned us, it proved beneficial. Before they left, we scheduled brief exit meetings to learn from their experiences, which forced real-time reflection on our program – reflection that will benefit our remaining interns as we immediately implement change.

From those exit meetings, for example, we were surprised to learn that our interns really appreciated the “soft” business skills (meeting etiquette, phone presentation skills, business email writing, etc.) they acquired. Planning for their arrival, we initially focused on the marketing skills we would teach (design tools, campaign planning, digital marketing analytics, etc.) rather than the general aspects that could set them apart from their peers, especially when applying and interviewing for jobs.

Below, I will detail their feedback, breakdown what we learned and explain how we will adjust the program for the interns that are still with us…

Feedback: “I learned how to talk on the phone.”

What that means: “I’m not comfortable on a business-related call, and I am glad I got to practice that skill while working with you.”

Our take-away: Every intern should be coached on phone skills and business interactions. Unless their positions will be focused on these skills, they should have scheduled sessions with an experienced mentor who will help them craft and plan their messages, and then make calls and presentations in a supported environment.

Feedback: “I learned how to prepare for and run a meeting.”

What that means: “A mentor took the time to guide me through a presentation and meeting scenario in a ‘risk-free’ environment.”

Our take-away: Hold a training meeting about presentation development and etiquette. Allow your interns to develop and lead a meeting to show what they learned. Points Group scores an A+ on this level because “How to Run a Meeting” was a pre-established training meeting that all of our interns (and employees who wanted a refresher) sat through at the beginning of the program. Our Managing Partner, Thomas Hofstetter put together a PowerPoint presentation detailing how to organize and structure presentations in order to ensure clear messaging. Following that training seminar, each intern was tasked with presenting a topic to our Account Management team. Topics included new design software and upcoming media buy opportunities. Not only did our Account Management team learn new marketing trends and tools, but our interns became more confident in their own competencies. A win-win for all!

While many companies are eager to hire interns as resources for much needed work and support, they need to understand they have a responsibility to their interns, as well. Be sure that your company is just as focused on how it can develop incoming interns as it is to put them to work and benefit from their availability.

Reach out to Points Group today for additional information on our marketing and consulting services.