Wednesday, June 5, 2013
An internship is a mutually beneficial experience for both the company and the intern. As a small business owner, you get an eager individual ready to help out and learn. They receive great experience for their resume. The terms of internships vary greatly—they may be seasonal (during the school year or summer), temporary (3 to 6 months), very part time or nearly full time, and paid or unpaid. The bigger question is after an intern completes the internship, should you hire them on as a regular, full time employee?
The first thing to consider is before you hire an intern, choose someone who you can envision one day being an employee. While interns don’t always continue their career at that company, the best case scenario is that their position lines up perfectly with their career goals and they turn out to be a rock star that you would love to have as an employee. The worst that could happen is they fulfill a need for a short period of time and you go your separate ways. But it is much easier to fill an open full time position by promoting an intern that by hiring a totally new candidate. Even if they have to finish school before they can start, it could be well worth the wait for the right person for the job.
Another thing to remember is offer paid internships if at all possible. There are plenty of talented young people out there who just can’t afford to spend time in an unpaid internship, so you don’t want to miss out on potential talent by only offering college credit—although that is a good benefit. The most important thing is to provide them with a value equal to the time and responsibilities you are giving them. You also don’t want to be too flexible with the time frame. Give a firm start date, end date, number of hours per week, and when they can expect to be offered a full time position or not. You can offer a small bonus for completing their commitment to the company.
The bottom line? If an intern doesn’t offer the level of skills and personality you were hoping for, kindly send them on their way at the completion of the internship. But if you think they have the potential to grow with the company, consider offering the next open position to them.
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