What Is a Rotational Internship? - Intern Program Tips

Rotational Internships

A new trend in internship design, a rotational internship describes an internship program in which the intern (or interns) rotates between various departments of an organization or between various roles within a single department.

Rotational internships have become popular because they boast certain benefits above and beyond the traditional advantages of an internship:

  • Rotational internships enable interns to experience and learn about more than one role within a business. In interdepartmental rotational internships, interns are exposed to an even more diverse range of roles and responsibilities.

  • Rotational internships allow interns to assess their skills and interest in a number of positions; they can then target fulltime openings that are the best fit.

  • Rotational internships enable employers to try out various individuals in various roles. If your organization is using its internship program to evaluate future employees, a rotational program lets supervisors assess where specific interns shine.

That being said, rotational internships are not right for every organization. This type of program requires an internship coordinator in addition to a site supervisor; your company needs to have the human resources to support this.

Also, because the logistics of a rotational internship are more complex, this format is not the best fit for a company just starting an internship program. Instead, it’s advised that your organization first get a traditional internship program fully functioning. Once this is running smoothly, you can consider a rotational arrangement.

On the other hand, small business owners might be under the misconception that rotational internships are only for large corporations. This is not necessarily the case. As long as a small business has a staff member to coordinate the movement between positions, there’s no reason a small- or mid-sized company can’t host interns on a rotating basis.

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