Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hiring an intern? Check out this How to Guide

Hiring A Summer Intern? Check out this How-to Guide from Jonathan Lau Growth Marketing Manager at Intern Match.

For more information on InternMatch call (408) 332.9911 or visit @InternMatch on Twitter or on the web at: Internmatch.com

Hiring an Intern to grow your business

Oakland sits in the center of the Bay Area, one of the most student talent rich areas of the country. Today, hiring interns isn’t just for big business anymore as students are quickly realizing that without relevant work experience they will be unemployed when they graduate.  Never before has it been easier for a small business to hire a savvy design intern to build marketing collateral, or a talented business development intern to execute a marketing strategy. 

However, every successful intern hire begins with a well thought out plan regarding the goals and logistics of the internship before even getting trying to find the right student for the job.  This guide is meant to help avoid the biggest potential pitfalls as you set out to hire your first interns.

Here are 5 steps to get started hiring interns:

Step 1: Ask yourself; does my company truly need interns?

An internship setup without a purpose is destined for trouble. Clear internship goals help give focus that benefits both company and intern. If you believe interns are not worth investing time, training or money into, then the internship is likely to do more harm than good.  You can learn more about intern compensation here.

Below are the most common reasons that companies with leading internship programs continue to invest time and money into hiring interns:

·         Converting Students to Full-Time Hires: “Hiring recent graduates is risky so we prefer to hire candidates from our internship program who are already battle proven.”

·         Filling a Gap: “We need someone to help with a project and we think a student can do it well and at a great price.”

·         Breeding Brand Advocates: “Our product is built for young people and we want to get youthful opinions and ideas involved on our team.”

·         Culture and Community: “Students bring energy, a strong work-ethic, and are a great way for us to give back to our local community.”

·         All of the above

Step 2: Determine the scope of your internship

Figuring out these logistics before you hire an intern will save you a lot of pain and sorrow.

·         How many hours a week will the intern work?

·         Will the intern get paid? How much?

·         What non-monetary forms of compensation will be offered (software training, networking events, etc.)?

·         What are the start and end dates for the internship?

·         What skills should the intern to have?

·         Who will manage the intern?

Step 3: What Perks Can You Offer Interns?

Going above and beyond with your internship will keep students engaged and increase the chances they will want to stay with your company after the internship ends. Take time to consider what activities or educational support you can provide that will make your program stand out. 

These include:

·         Brown bag lunches with key executives in your company.

·         Taking interns to meetings, conferences or events.

·         Have a day where interns get to meet everyone in the office and learn about their role.

·         Teach interns industry specific software like Salesforce, Microsoft Excel and more.

·         Host fun events, like attending a baseball game or going bowling at the end of the program.

For more tips on this, check out InternMatch’s 9 Alternative Ways to Compensate Interns

Step 4: What’s your company culture in regards to interns?

Deciding how your company culture will accommodate interns will set the tone for your internship offerings. Are interns going to be embraced as employees and be invited to important company meetings? Will the interns operate as a team or will each intern work closely with their boss or manager? Will interns be given special projects in the hopes of making more hires or will they grind on simpler work like an entry level employee? There are no wrong answers here, but different internship program cultures help you accomplish different stated goals.

Step 5: Final checks.

There are a few important final points to consider before going ahead and creating position descriptions and putting your internship program plan into action.


If you are opting to pay your interns, labor laws state that interns should be considered part-time employees, sent an I-9, W-4, along with any other new hire forms, and placed on your standard payroll system.  Learn more with this Adding Interns to Payroll Guide.

Onboarding Interns:

Before hiring an intern you need to make sure you have the right resources available to bring interns into the office. Do you have desk space? Do you have computers available or should interns bring their own laptops? Will it be easy to create email, and computer login accounts for interns the first day they arrive? Do your interns get parking passes, office keys, or security clearance? Will interns need to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or Offer Letter ?

If you all those boxes checked off, you are ready to start writing your internship descriptions and recruiting students!





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