I’m thinking about finding an intern. There have been a lot of ideas rattling around in my head and I’d like to make headway on them. Thoughts on how to improve customer experience at the sushi bar, ways to increase awareness (most important at the moment), and starting a whole new branch of a menu. As a one-man operation on the administrative and office side, the paperwork is piling up and there’s little time left to push the business forward.

Anyway, before I actually try to find an intern I wanted to talk about the idea of an internship. It seems in Singapore, companies treat interns quite poorly – viewed more as a source of free labor with little thought given to the training and education aspect that is supposed to accompany an internship. After all, in return for low or no pay, the intern receives hands-on experience and guidance. What I’ve observed is that companies bring on interns, have them do the grunt work and then chuck ‘em out once the internship period is over.

When I was working at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, we had a solid internship program. What I found interesting was that after a summer internship, the intern was supposed to be proficient enough to pass a job interview for a full-time position at the company. If the intern wasn’t able to pass the interview, it was the intern’s mentor (the full-time employee) that would receive a blemish on their record (like not being able to have an intern for a couple years or not be considered for a management role).  This drove the behavior of really coaching and guiding the intern.

So before I start searching for an intern I want to make sure that I’m prepared to provide an experience that’s great for the intern as well as for the business.