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The process of hiring summer interns starts long before the summer season arrives. Most college students find themselves ready to start an internship as early as May and sometimes applying for some of the most competitive internships as early as January or February.
If you’re thinking about hiring summer interns, there are a few things to consider, and finding the right ones can seem near impossible. You want to have an internship program that offers interns the chance to learn and explore a possible career while also helping your business get things done.
A survey of interns performed by WayUp found that the programs that interns rated highest were the ones that provided them with the greatest opportunities for learning, CNBC reported. Luckily, creating an environment where your interns can learn can be done no matter the size of your company.
Any business, big or small can attract those coveted and eager summer interns. In fact, for an intern, a smaller environment can sometimes mean more responsibility and insight, and more time with the customer, said Rich Razgaitis, CEO of FloWater, a San Francisco-based startup that’s focused on eliminating single-use plastic water bottles. At a startup or small business, an intern can squeeze six to 10 months of experience into just a four-month span, getting involved in responsibilities they may not have the opportunity to work on in a bigger corporation.
If you’re considering hiring summer interns for your business, read on to find out if your business is right for interns, how to find qualified prospects, and, of course, how to hire a summer intern.
Okay, so small businesses in general can be successful in attracting summer interns, but what about your business? Here are some steps to take before hiring summer interns to make sure your company can offer a good experience:
“Like anything else, aligning a person’s motivations with rewards after finding really great talent is the key,” Razgaitis says. And besides the return via compensation or school credit, “They want coaching, experience, and learning exposure. It needs to be a mutual value creation.”
A good intern is looking for an opportunity to learn about their field and develop new skills they can use to hopefully land a full-time job. He or she wants to be part of a team; a chance to show off his or her talents and prove the ability to take something on, do a great job, and execute.
No matter how you choose to pay an intern—in pay compensation or credit compensation—you must legally pay your intern in some way. In only the most specific circumstances is it legal to not pay interns. Otherwise, you’ll need to at least pay minimum wage. However, average intern salaries across all degree levels are typically higher.
Hiring summer interns is pretty similar to taking steps to hire a full-time employee. You’ll need to write a job description with concrete explanations, including examples of what your intern will be doing for your small business. With details about the length of the program, the job itself, what they can expect to learn, and compensation.
If you think you could be in the market for a summer intern, take a peek at some of these sites and places that could help you with hiring summer interns:
When you find a few good candidates for your summer internship, conduct the hiring process just as you would if you were looking to hire a full-time employee. You want to spend time talking with them to learn about their experience and interests and to make sure that what they’re looking for aligns with what your business needs. You will also want to decide how you will classify your intern for your business tax purposes—depending on their hours and compensation, they can be classified as employees, volunteers, or independent contractors. You will need to decide which of these best applies to your interns.
If you can find an absolutely stellar summer intern—and reward them with interesting work—you might be able to hire them full-time when they graduate. This would be a huge plus for you because you could end up with an employee who is already vetted and fully onboarded with your business. This would also save you money, because hiring can be an expensive process.
Hiring summer interns is a great way to find and train good talent while offering students interested in your industry the opportunity to learn and further their career development. Plus you might end up getting a full-time employee out of it if they turn out to be an asset to your team and your business is able to add a full-time employee.
If you put some time and effort into providing a great internship experience and finding the right candidate, both your business and the intern will be better off in the long run.