Summer break is quickly approaching and it is a great time to consider hiring an intern. Let’s face it, your small staff association can use all the help it can get, but let’s make sure we do it right.
Why hire interns?
It is a mutually beneficial relationship – at least it should be if you’re doing it right. Students gain valuable experience to put on their resumes. Sometimes they get school credit for internships. Some schools/programs even require students to take on an internship.
Your organization benefits because your small staff gets a boost (think of it as a shot of adrenaline) from having another person join the team, even if it isn’t permanent. They can do things your staff cannot (young people are good with social media for eg.), do not want to do (I’m sure there’s plenty of administrative tasks that can be delegated), or simply do not have the time to do.
Where to look?
My organization and many of our clients have already begun the process to find summer interns. Local colleges are a good place to start. Most if not all of them have dedicated career centers to help their students find jobs.
If the work doesn’t require as much expertise, you can even go to high schools – just make sure the proper paperwork is filed if they are under 18, depending on your region.
There are countless job boards, but you can use free resources such as Craiglist, LinkedIn, and your organization’s social media pages. As always your organization’s website is also a very good place to advertise an internship position. Make sure you are clear with your posting and definitely say “intern” and if it’s “part-time” in the post.
If there is a project that is time consuming that your staff cannot give the proper attention to during the year and it can wait until the summer, assign it to the intern. They can see it from beginning to end and gain good project management experience.
Don’t just delegate menial tasks to the intern. You should try and make this a learning experience for them. There may be some tedious tasks but there should be a good balance so the intern will want to come back and join your organization full time when they graduate.
Pay them. This is important. There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not to pay an intern. Having some experience in the workforce development world, my stance is that you should pay them for the effort they put in, because they are doing valuable work for you. If you don’t want to pay an hourly wage, a fixed stipend also works. Otherwise, this position isn’t an internship, it is a volunteer position.
Keep in mind…
An intern will need supervision. Chances are you will need to train them and then manage their work so make sure your staff can take on this responsibility and that someone is assigned to it.
Here are some resources to help you get started
1) The 6 Best Job Sites to Find Interns from Smart Recruiters
2) 6 steps to hire an intern/co-op student from Walton College
3) Hiring Interns: Do’s and Don’ts from Mashable
4) 5 Tips for Hiring and Managing a Summer Intern from SBA.gov
5) Hiring Interns, The Legal Way from The JUSTWORKS Blog