Software Engineering Management Coach
Setting up a skip level meeting for interns can be a great way to add value to the intern, their mentor, and the mentor’s manager.
Internships are great for a multitude of reasons. They provide valuable career experience to the intern, they can be a great recruiting tool for the company, and they provide helpful growth opportunities to the employees. A skip level meeting between the intern and their mentor’s manager helps you take advantage of those growth opportunities.
Assuming that you are the manager, a skip level meeting allows you to:
Here’s a template for running a skip level with an intern. We’ll assume a summer internship and plan for 3 meetings.
If you’re unfamiliar with skip levels this article gives a good overview. The first rule of skip levels: do NOT schedule a skip level without first discussing it with the mentor. Ever. If done poorly it can undermine the mentor and create poor team dynamics. Execution matters.
Successful skip levels are built on trust and transparency.
Start off on the right foot by discussing it with the mentor.
This should feel like a collaboration between you and the mentor.
The first meeting is the intro meeting. Here are some good topics and questions for a first meeting:
Here’s a sample meeting invite:
Putting some time on the calendar for us to chat. This is an opportunity for you to ask me any questions about your internship, the team, or the company. It’s also a good time for me to get feedback from you on how it’s going so far. I’ll prepare a few questions for you. For our first meeting, I’d like you to think about what the #1 thing is that you’d like to get out of this internship.
Please let me or your mentor know if you have any questions about this meeting.
p.s. The other interns will get a similar invite and your mentor is aware that we’re having this meeting. My goal is to meet with you 2-3 times during your internship.
The second meeting is the most flexible. They’re in the middle of their internship and hopefully hitting their groove. They should be making progress on their project and feeling more comfortable.
Here are some possible topics for the second meeting:
The third meeting is the wrap-up. This is probably your last chance to get feedback and to provide an exceptional experience. Hopefully everything went swimmingly. They did a fantastic job, you’re excited to make them a full-time offer, and they’re excited to accept!
Of course, that’s not going to happen all the time. Even if the picture isn’t as rosy you still want them to have the best experience possible. Whether it’s an intern, an interview candidate, or an office visitor, treating them well says a lot about your culture.
Here are some topics for the last meeting:
Internships offer learning and growth opportunities for everyone involved, not just the intern! A skip level meeting is a great tool to enhance the experience.
What are some of your favorite skip level questions for interns? Contact me and let me know.
Previously published at https://managingdev.com/skip-level-meetings-interns/