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Intern Supervisors

Internships are a critical tool for recruiting the next generation of federal employees. Use our internship management guidance and resources to create a rewarding and successful experience for your interns.

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  • Create opportunities for interns to build essential workplace competencies such as teamwork, critical thinking, oral/written communication. 

  • Get interns’ input and perspectives on what they need to develop their careers and professional skills.

  • Find colleagues in your organization who can help support interns’ training and learning opportunities.

  • Schedule engaging activities with your interns such as  “meet and greets” with senior leadership.

Guidelines for Intern Performance Feedback

Effective and timely feedback is critical to a successful performance management program and should be used together with setting performance goals. Such well-placed guidance will help interns make progress towards their goals and ultimately enhance their performance. Interns need to know in a timely manner how they are doing, what is working, and what they can do to improve.

  • Request weekly updates - For example, weekly e-mails with a list of accomplishments, areas where guidance or direction is needed, and goals for the week ahead.
  • Establish performance expectations and goals before work begins - Feedback works best when it is specific and relates to a particular goal. When possible, use data. For example, telling interns that they are doing well because they exceeded their goal by 10% is more effective than simply saying "you're doing a good job."
  • Be timely - Interns should be made aware of how they are doing in real time, if possible. If improvement in their performance is needed, the sooner they find out about it the sooner they can correct the problem. Conversely, when interns have reached or exceeded a goal, the sooner they receive positive feedback, the more rewarding it is to them.
  • Balance directness with empathy - Feedback should be given in a manner that will best encourage improved performance, i.e., offer feedback in a positive way so the information is better received. This is not to say that correction should be sugar-coated; it must be accurate, factual, and complete. However, you will likely have better results when feedback reinforces what the intern did right and then identifies what needs to be done moving forward.
  • Listen to your intern - Give them the opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts. They may need time to process the information before responding to your feedback. Follow up with them, especially if you offered direction on how to improve their performance. 
  • Encourage improvement - Offer guidance on how the intern can improve performance. Be specific when you discuss it with them and provide it also in writing so your intern can go back and follow directions.

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