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4. How did the job match your expectations?
According to a recent study, 6 in 10 American workers say they’ve found that their job was different from what they expected, stating they felt misled during the interview and job description process. This often causes employees to be disengaged and unmotivated at work - not to mention frustrated. This is even more critical with your interns because they're there for a such a short period of time, so there isn't as much room for acclimation and adjustments. They want to hit the ground running and can only do so if their expectations are met as it relates to their intern tasks and responsibilities.
Asking this question helps you see if you need to make changes to your internship job description to make sure you're accurately defining the position. You can even have your intern read the job description after the internship is over so they can give you feedback on whether or not they feel it's accurate, what they would change, or maybe what isn't necessarily true.
Interns can also provide details on tasks they ended up doing, or advice for what they wanted to do but didn't get the opportunity to. This will ensure that you recruit strong interns for next summer who have a good understanding of their role at the company and can, therefore, give back to you as much as you’re giving to them.
5. What do you believe the next step is in your career, and how can we can help you get there?
This is a great question to ask at the end of the internship because it gives you insight into what your interns' professional aspirations are. With this information, you’re able to get an idea of what they want to do as their next step in the working world.
60% of the time, interns are hired directly into full-time jobs with their employers. If you're working with college interns who may still have a few semesters of school left, identify ways to keep in touch with them and let them know if job openings come up that they might be interested in. Just because you can't hire them right away, doesn't mean you can't in the future.
Asking about career goals allows you to see if your company would be a viable fit for the intern as much as they could be for you, based on what they want to do. If it seems they want to go on and do something else, or they just weren't the best fit for your company, this question will still give you the ability to help them connect with companies that are a better fit.
PRO TIP: This is also a great question to ask at the BEGINNING of the internship, so you can provide the best intern experience possible.
6. Did you feel that the housing/stipend provided was adequate for your internship?
If your interns relocated for the program, or were provided a stipend or reimbursement for their internship costs, ask them about it. Depending on what was provided there are different ways to ask this question but in general you want to get feedback on whether the housing was good, bad, or other (taking into account things like location, amenities, etc.). If no housing was provided but some sort of stipend or reimbursement was, then ask if it was sufficient to cover their costs, for example. You want to be fairly specific here - asking "did you feel your reimbursement was enough" is too broad and likely to result in a lot of negative responses. After all, who doesn't want more money? If you clearly ask them to evaluate the monetary compensation compared to a reasonable expectation (ie covering their costs for a laptop or internet in remote internships) then you'll get much better feedback.
Other Considerations for Intern Exit Interviews
Obviously, there are plenty of other questions to ask interns about their experience in internships, but these are a few to help you get started.
It is important to keep exit interview questions for interns direct, straightforward and easy to answer and understand—especially if your intern is doing the interview remotely through a form, you want to make sure you aren't asking questions that could be confusing or ask a 2-part question in one which then, you may not get the answer you're looking for.
A solid exit interview with your summer intern will hopefully not only give you valuable insight into your company, but it will also help interns to leave with good feelings about their experience.
As you can see, it’s extremely important to make time for a proper goodbye. Whether in person or through an online internship survey questionnaire, these questions can be crucial to improving your own internship program and company, while creating better experiences for future interns.