Who would you rather have working for you…someone who always thinks he knows more than you do, or someone who believes every word from your lips is the smartest and most interesting thing he has ever heard?
Well, maybe that is an exaggeration; however, employing an intern should be considered when possible.
ADVANTAGES OF INTERNS
Interns can be smart, motivated, quick learners (they’re already in school, right?), take instructions well, have limited expectations, are eager, industrious, hard workers! They are grateful for the work experience, can be cheap (or free), and want to impress.
An added benefit…interns don’t have years of jaded employment in the workforce with cranky supervisors telling them, “You can’t do it that way!” As an employer, you end up with an out-of-the-box thinker who may come up with some pretty unique and wonderful ideas.
On the downside, interns may not be the most reliable people, but you can suss that out in the interview process.
Now, where to find an intern…
DO YOU HAVE A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY NEARBY?
That would be the place to start looking. Contact the career placement office (or similar) or even the department for the type of intern you want (i.e., Want a marketing intern? Try the marketing department!). In addition, you can post to craigslist or on the campus website, if allowed. Also, try asking for referrals from friends or family members who might know someone with a kid in college looking for an opportunity.
BE LIKE A BOY SCOUT AND BE PREPARED!
When your new intern starts, don’t assume she is going to know anything about what to do! Have some sort of “on-boarding” procedure, even something really simple and straightforward (i.e., here’s the bathroom, eat your lunch there, get here by 9 a.m., etc.). Divide the intern’s tasks into bite-sized pieces, easily understandable, easily explainable, easy to evaluate if she’s done the job correctly. Always layout your expectations and ask her to repeat them back so you know she’s understood.
HATE TO USE THIS EXPRESSION, BUT IT’S A WIN-WIN SCENARIO
Intern gets at least one of the following: course credit, work experience, money, sometimes all three! Employer gets all of the mentioned benefits, as well as the good will of the intern, his family, his school, the community in general! See, you’ve done a good thing!
“This job would be impossible without the use of interns. We are able to take on more programs and do a better job because of them. They are able to take care of details that I wouldn’t have time to do. They know the agency, so when we need a temp, we hire them to fill in. I would highly recommend having intern students.” ~ Kathy Reasoner, Director, American Heart Association
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