Growing your business means investing in key staff. Before you jump into the hiring process, you may want to consider hiring an intern to strengthen your team. With 75% of college students graduating with at least one internship, the intern talent pool has never been better. Whether they’re pursuing a degree or fresh out of school, a qualified intern can translate into big gains for your small business. Here’s how to hire an intern to accelerate the growth of your company.
Why hire an intern
Hiring interns can bring great experiences and opportunities for your business to move forward as they are often eager to put their school lessons to the test. To decide if hiring an intern is the best choice, consider it against other options. Depending on your business model, your options may include temporary employees, part-time help, seasonal workers, new permanent employees, or contractors. Here are some examples of why hiring an intern for your small business may make sense.
1. You can test-drive before you buy
Internships allow small businesses to assess new talent without the commitment involved in hiring a permanent staff member. Since internships automatically expire, you’re not obligated to keep your intern if they’re lacking in skill or not performing adequately. But, with more than 45% of internships resulting in full-time employment, you can offer them a position if they’re doing great work and you can afford to keep them.
2. Interns cost less than full-time employees
Many interns are looking for both real-world experience and college credit for the time they spend with you. As such, and as temporary employees, interns’ wages are typically equivalent to any other entry level, part time temporary employee. According to a PayScale.com report from 2017, on average, interns in information technology earn $14.87 per hour, while social media interns make around $10.50 per hour. In addition, as part-time employees, you are typically not providing benefits, which represents further savings.
3. Being a mentor is important to you
If you are passionate about being a mentor and sharing your expertise, hiring an intern will give you that opportunity. Internships are designed to share business knowledge through on-the-job experience. An intern will look to you to learn necessary job skills and how to develop their talent. For mentor-minded professionals, an intern will give represents the chance to teach someone and watch them grow.
4. Your business could benefit from fresh ideas and vision
Many college students learn modern trends and new ideas in school that could benefit your business. This is especially true for rising seniors, who often have many of the same qualifications as an entry-level hire. Additionally, interns are often enthusiastic and show strong initiative to impress you with their newly acquired industry knowledge. Though you’ll need to invest time into their development, your return on this investment can mean increased profitability down the road.
How to find an intern
Hiring an intern is a lot like hiring a new employee. You start by accurately assessing your needs before you begin the search process. Clearly defining the skill set and personality type that will best fit the culture you’re building in your business will ensure a good outcome and increased productivity.
Once you have a job description outlined with real work assignments and defined objectives, focus on planning how you’ll supervise your intern. Will you provide supervision or is another staff member in your business better suited for that role?
From there, you can start the recruitment process. To find the right person in the least amount of time, focus on looking an intern in the right places. One simple resource is to post your internship opportunity on internships.com. Here are other ways you can find interns as well:
- Network through family and friends
- Ask businesses connections for recommendations
- Seek out college career centers
- Reach out on your social media platforms
- Post your open position on a job board
- Use your connections on LinkedIn
Though it might seem daunting, it’s a lot easier to get an intern than you think it is. Spending time finding the right one and investing in proper onboarding is pivotal to ensure a successful internship experience.
Besides providing interns with meaningful tasks, establishing a professional relationship based on respect will positively impact the outcome of your intern’s work. It is easy to hand them the worst tasks, but an intern is not there to make everyone else’s life easier. When assigning jobs, first ask yourself if it provides a valuable learning experience. If your intern is stuck getting coffee or making copies all day, they’re not likely to take their internship seriously, and that will have a detrimental effect on your small business.
Providing them with a welcoming atmosphere and including them as part of the team will make the experience more beneficial. Invite interns to team meetings, ask for their input, and allow them to participate in projects and assignments. If you treat them like valuable employees, they’ll repay you with fervor and commitment.
Additionally, taking time to coach and mentor your intern will make them a much more valuable contributor to your company. Teaching them to do a project thoroughly and completely will not only foster their growth, but it will allow you to give them additional tasks and free up more of your time to focus on growing your business.
Using an intern in your small business
When you hire interns to work for your small business, you meet people with the best classroom techniques that can provide substantial benefits. They’re often looking for on-the-job experience to get ahead in the job market, and they’re passionate about learning what it takes to succeed in the industry from you. Though you might not have the budget of a big company, you can still benefit from all the advantages that big companies get by hiring an intern to accelerate the growth of your small business.