Offering an internship is beneficial to both your business and the people taking advantage of the internship offer. However, it does require a good deal of effort to run a successful intern program. The focus on any internship should be teaching a new generation of workers, not free labor.
Here's how to make the most of an internship program so that both businesses and interns gain maximum benefit.
Test Drive Future Contractors or Employees
If you are in the market for a new contractor or an employee, having an internship program is a great idea. You can hire two or three interns, with the idea that if one works out they will become permanent. Seeing more than one intern working can let you know if your expectations are too high or on target.
Get Short-Term Support
If you don’t need full-time support, but you have more work during summertime, then having interns during that time is a great way to give back to the community by training future workers, but without having to make promises of permanent work.
Find Low-Cost Labor
Due to lack of experience, interns often get paid less than someone you have to hire on a permanent basis. In some states it’s legal to use an intern free as long as you have approval from certain colleges so that the student can get credit. Plus, most states require you to be a non-profit before allowing you not to pay interns.
Get Fresh Ideas
Bringing in new blood often brings in new ideas. If you run your internship asking for fresh ideas from your interns, leaving the door open for them to bring their ideas into the mix instead of just focusing on tasks that you assign them, you’ll boost your business in ways you haven’t considered.
It feels great to help students and young people who haven’t started their career yet. Giving them information to put on their resume, even if you cannot hire them later, will help them in more ways than you can imagine. Experience is hard to come by but required for most large companies.
Attract Top Talent
If you are a small company, or even a work-from-home company, you likely cannot afford the best talent. But, with an internship program you can get top talent because they need experience to get those top-paying jobs.
Acquire New Technology Skills
If you’re short on new technology skills, by starting an internship program you can recruit interns who have outstanding technological skills to do the things you cannot do. Even if it’s short term, you can get a lot of things off the ground.
Improve Training Programs
Whether you hire contractors or employees, an internship program will help you improve your training programs. Upon doing an exit interview with the interns you hired, you can ask the right questions so that you can find out how you can do better.
Remember, internships aren’t free labor anymore. There have been several lawsuits against for-profit companies using interns as free labor who have been forced to pay the interns after the fact. Some companies under a very limited basis can get by with doing unpaid internships but only under very specific circumstances. So if you want to offer unpaid internships, make sure you consult a lawyer in your state who has experience in this area.