Should You Hire An Intern For Your Small Business?

Could you use an extra set of hands around the office? A fresh set of eyes? If so, you and your company should look into hiring an intern.

Before jumping right in, it’s important to keep in mind that interns are not just free labor. Internship programs exist to give young people experience and time to develop their professional skills. Some colleges even require their students to have an internship before graduating. In addition, internship programs can be a great way to find full time employees for small businesses as the interns will already be familiar with the work environment and will be that much more equipped to complete given tasks. In fact, a 2014 survey on Linkedin.com showed that up to 31% of interns are hired back full time.

Photo Source: pixabay.com_.png

Photo Source: pixabay.com_.png

Before hiring an intern you should consider the amount of time it might take to mentor a young employee. Sure, they might be eager to learn, but that doesn’t mean you would find yourself spending 20 minutes trying to explain how the copy machine works, at least the first time through. For many, an internship is their first serious job commitment and at first, they could be lacking the skills you now consider to be rudimentary. You should also set time aside to have progress meeting with your interns throughout their time with your company in order to ensure they have the most enriching experience possible.

Another thing to consider before looking to hire is ensuring you have a clear list of tasks you need completed. If you and your company are just starting, you probably want to avoid hiring an intern, otherwise they will often find themselves twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do while you scramble to give them their next assignment. It would be a waste of both their time and yours.

Photo Source: pixabay.com

Photo Source: pixabay.com

If hiring an intern is something you’d like to do, you must decide whether or not you will offer a paid or unpaid internship. An unpaid internship may sound great, but there are six legal restrictions you must abide by which are laid out in the Fair Standards Labor Act.

Once all of these things have been researched, it’s time to finally begin the hiring process. You can post your internship listing on various websites, or you can even work directly with a college’s career service or internship program to ensure you are following every guideline and being exposed to the best candidates.

You need to layout how you will eliminate candidates based on GPA, major, experience etc. The candidates who passed the test should then go onto a round of 15 minute phone call interviews. In-person interviews are even better. One tip is to create a more diverse pool of applicants to make this second step of the process in order for the top candidate to become even more obvious.

Photo Source: careerswag.com

Photo Source: careerswag.com

Yes, the intern you ultimately choose should have certain skills necessary for the job, but more importantly, you should find someone who will fit into your company culture, someone eager to learn. Keep in mind, skills can be learned but a good attitude cannot be. Stay realistic that no candidate will perfectly meet all of your requirements. You’re going to have to be a little flexible at some point.

When you finally do find the right fit, as long as you provide the best learning experience you possibly can, you should be good to go.

Hiring an intern can be a daunting task, but once you commit to the process, interns can make a huge difference.

What to keep in mind before deciding to hire interns:

 

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