How to Hire an Intern

How to Hire an InternWe all know the way it works. Intern = free labor. At least, that’s what it seems most people think. Some departments don’t even have room in a budget for a third person, assuming that it will be covered by a free intern.

Well, that’s not entirely true. While an intern may be a good fit for your company, here are some things you should think about before starting an internship program:

1. Make it competitive

So, it’s kosher not to pay an intern, right? That’s the way we do things? Wrong. You can absolutely pay an intern and, in some cases, you probably want to. Some think that an intern isn’t valuable because they lack experience. Lacking experience is almost the definition of an intern. But, what they don’t have in experience, they probably have in education. Don’t sell them short. If you can offer them some money along with college credit, throw a few bucks their way. It also may keep them loyal to your company when they’re looking for a job after graduation.

2. Give them a real world experience

When I was an intern, I wasn’t expected to get coffee. The one time my boss asked me to do it, she apologized the whole day. I really didn’t mind getting coffee on occasion. If I was a regular employee, I would have gotten coffee, too. My point is: don’t make your intern the office gopher. Too often, companies employing interns see themselves as laudable for letting a college student look behind the curtain. But, that’s not enough. If you’re going to have an intern in the office, give them work that’s interesting and matters. Ask for their opinion. If they do something wrong, show them how you do it. Not only will you be giving interns a real life work experience, you’ll also become known as a program that educates and doesn’t just want an office assistant.

3. Where do they go next?

Internships are a great place to gain experience. But, it doesn’t necessarily help them apply for future positions. Is there a place for an intern to go in your own company? If not, are you willing to do some footwork to help them find placement? An intern may be a temporary working in the life of your company, but what if they’re indispensable? Help them and, even if they can’t stay with your company, they’ll remember you further down the road.

4. What would you want?

It seems the most obvious, but people often forget: if it was your internship, what would you want to get out of it? Don’t worry if you haven’t been an intern before. All it takes is a little imagination. If you can formulate an experience you would want, you’ll give your intern the experience they can use.

If you decide that an intern is right for you, you can add a valuable team member to your staff. Have you had an intern? What did you ask before adding a program? Tell us in the comments below!

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Posted on February 3, 2014, in Biz Tips, Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Small Business and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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