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First one-on-one with an intern Template

Set the scene for a meaningful 1:1 with your intern at the start of their internship.

Created by Sarah Archer

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First one-on-one with an intern Template

Walkthrough

The First 1:1 Meeting With an Intern

During an Intern's first day, it’s the manager's role to draft an agenda that lays the foundation for what to expect, identifies the intern’s goals, and sets expectations for the internship. We recommend documenting and recording Looms of your processes, the way you work, and background on strategy for the intern to review asynchronously. That will give them the time to go at their own pace, process the material, and take notes. Then, meet with them one-on-one to discuss the concepts in greater detail and answer any questions they have.

1. Discuss the user manuals

We recommend that every employee writes a User Manual on their first day of work, which they can iterate on over the course of their employment. This empowers them to share insight into their preferred work style, communication style, personality type, feedback style, interests, and fun facts. Give each other time to review each others' User Manuals prior to the meeting and use them to guide conversations on how you can best work with each other.

2. What are your career goals?

An internship is practice for a career path and will provide context to what a role and industry are all about. Learn exactly what your intern wants to do in their career, so you can provide them with opportunities to take on projects, shadow roles, and connect with mentors that mirror the path they’re expecting to take.

3. What are 3-4 new skills you’d like to develop in this internship?

Ask your intern to outline concrete, actionable goals that you can support them in achieving by the end of their internship. Use these as a way to welcome your intern into projects where they can hone the skills they’re interested in developing.

4. How can I help support you in achieving your goals during this internship?

Remember, the purpose of their internship is to gain valuable experience that will catapult them into their post-grad career. Avoid the guessing game — ask your intern exactly what kind of support they need from you and act on it from the beginning. If they're not sure yet, that's okay. Revisit the question later.

5. Guidance on your role and impact

This is your opportunity to not only set expectations but to show your intern how important their role is in reaching your team-wide goals. Even the smallest of tasks can make a big difference to your bottom line, so it’s important to be transparent about your OKRs and how they play a part in them.

6. Do you have any questions regarding your onboarding process?

Onboarding can be information overload, so make sure that you leave space to discuss questions about your company, process, strategy, and the role itself.

7. What can I do between now and our next one-on-one to support you?

Repeat this question regularly in your one-on-one agendas to make sure that you’re supporting your intern to be as productive and successful as they can be.

8. What day/time works for our recurring meeting?

Set up a recurring one-on-one meeting with your intern and empower them to draft their own agendas moving forward. This will give them the opportunity to lead meetings, share what they’re working on and their learnings, and help you understand how where and how you can support them.

About this template

This agenda will set the scene for a meaningful one-on-one conversation with your intern on their first day of work.

Posted on Jul 13, 2022

First one-on-one with an intern FAQs

How long should a first one-on-one with an intern be?

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You should initially set your first one-on-one with an interns for 1 hour with your team. If you prepare and share an agenda in advance you're likely to get through more faster.

What should you discuss during a first one-on-one with an intern?

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8 great things to discuss in your First one-on-one with an intern:

  • Discuss the user manuals
  • What are your career goals?
  • What are 3-4 skills you'd like to develop in this internship?
  • How can I help support you in achieving your goals during this internship?
  • Guidance on your role and impact
  • Do you have any questions regarding your onboarding process?
  • What can I do between now and our next one-on-one to support you?
  • What day/time works for our recurring meeting?

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About the Author

Sarah Archer

Sarah Archer is the Head of Content Strategy at Kona, a culture and wellbeing platform for people-first companies. She’s passionate about helping leaders prevent burnout and build culture in their organizations and is an MBA candidate at Boston University.