Supervising interns in a virtual environment: Wrapping up the program

By Rick Kempinski | June 1, 2020

This post is the third in a three-part series on how to ensure a successful virtual experience for interns and supervisors. The other posts were on intern onboarding and orientation and keeping interns engaged.

Before interns depart, it’s important to think about the impact they’ve had on your agency and how you can stay connected and engaged with them after they leave. Here are seven recommendations to consider as interns wrap up:

  1. Request that they prepare a document about the internship program, summarizing their activities, accomplishments and lessons learned. This enables interns to recognize how much they’ve accomplished and contributed to your agency and helps them build a portfolio they can use when applying for other positions. To give interns another opportunity to speak in front of a group, encourage them to share this information at a team meeting. This will also show your colleagues what your interns accomplished and how you can apply their lessons learned to improve future interns’ experiences.
  2. Pinpoint and discuss ways they can improve. While interns may be able to identify some of their areas for improvement, you’re in the best position to discuss steps for their personal and professional development.
  3. Ask for feedback. Just as you should provide interns with opportunities to grow and improve, it’s important for you to hear from them what they think you or the organization can do better.
  4. Determine how you will stay connected. Exchange email addresses and phone numbers and connect via LinkedIn or other professional networking sites. If you offered to be a job reference, discuss the best way for them to contact you.
  5. Encourage them to be federal ambassadors. Ask interns to promote their experience with their peers and student groups and on social media.
  6. Hire them. Discuss interns’ career goals and explore the possibility of future opportunities at your organization or across government. If you were impressed with their performance and your team or group has vacancies, consider hiring them full time.
  7. Thank them. Showing appreciation for interns’ work is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Remember that your interns worked hard, stepped outside their comfort zones, took chances and learned a great deal in a short time—all while working in a virtual environment. Whether you send an e-card, or a challenge coin or other office-related memento, thanking interns will leave a positive impression of their time on your team.

If you implemented any of the tips in this three-part series on virtual internships, let us know how it went by emailing me at RKempinski@ourpublicservice.

To learn about the Partnership’s internships and fellowships, visit our federal hiring page.


Rick Kempinski