Is An Internship Program Right for Your Business?

Three Things You Should Know About Hiring An Intern

Whether you already have an established internship program within your company, or you are looking to initiate an internship program, there are some things you need to know. Internships are a great way to allow young adults to gain valuable professional experience, while simultaneously easing some of the day-to-day workload for your employees. A solid internship program is beneficial for both the employer and the intern - especially if you hire the right interns. However, before you begin the hiring process, here are some key things to keep in mind in order for both you and your potential intern to have the best professional experience possible.

THING ONE: Think deeply about what kind of experience you want them to have.
One of the key points of an internship is that there should clear deliverables, goals, and projects from both ends. Interns should, ideally, feel like they are developing professional skills that could be applied in a variety of contexts in the future. Give careful consideration to what sort of balance you want to strike between discrete projects and menial tasks, and what skills you would like interns to gain while employed. Having a clear outline in mind, and communicating that to the intern(s) is extremely important since it increases accountability on both ends and will make for a better experience overall.

THING TWO: Will there be mentoring involved?
Another point to consider when hiring interns is if there is an expectation of mentoring - informal or formally. Some internship programs are designed to have those elements, others let it happen organically. Either way, identify people in the department that will be able to provide this aspect and communicate what sort of time commitment is expected from that. It could be as simple as perhaps getting lunch together every once in a while, to structured sessions of feedback and development.

THING THREE: Workplace and labor law considerations.
Whether offering paid, unpaid, college credit - make sure you understand your state and federal labor laws when designing and implementing an internship program. Wage and hours should be determined accordingly, as well as delegated tasks. The U.S. Small Business Administration identifies different regulations regarding interns here that will help ensure that your program is compliant with industry and government standards.

Bottom Line: Hiring an intern is a great way to guide professional development in young adults, as well as getting some extra support for your department. With some simple considerations, an internship is definitely a valuable experience on both ends.