How to Recruit Interns






















































































Entering the workforce is not for the faint of heart. Recent grads, with their shiny new

diplomas in hand, may struggle to know what’s next or how to perform in a business setting, but you can help. Internships give students and new grads much needed work experience.


Internships are also a smart business decision for you. Interns help you get work done and provide you with the opportunity to be a mentor. You’ll get the satisfaction of teaching valuable real-world skills to the next working generation.


In this guide, we cover the basics of internship programs from launching and maintenance to determining if hiring interns is the right decision for your business.





Why an Internship Program?


p)))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Financially smart: If your business is short on cash or you’re short on time, an internship program is a great way to bring young, smart people onto your team for much less than you’d pay a regular employee. Many interns are willing to work for free; experience is what they’re looking for.

p)))))))<>{color:#000;}. Fresh perspective: Interns are motivated and eager to learn, infusing your office with positive energy. A young, energetic person who’s excited to work with you will reset your own view as you get a chance to see your business from his or her eager eyes. It’s also

valuable to get a younger person’s

but college students these days are digital natives who live and breathe social media. Utilize their expertise to upgrade your social media program and promotions.

p((((((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Awesome recruiting tool: If you’re going to hire a new employee, why not recruit from your intern pool rather than interviewing candidates from external sources? You, and your interns, have the time to make sure it’s a good fit before they join your business.

p((((((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. It feels good: Nothing is more rewarding than investing in the next generation and your community. When you feel stuck in your business, mentoring young people will remind you how much you know, and how much you love what you do.





Intern vs. Assistant: Which is Right for You?


As great as it is to have driven employees working for free or very little, an internship program may not be right for you at this phase of your business. Don’t rush into hiring interns without considering if a part- time paid assistant is a better fit.


Ask yourself the questions below to gauge if you’re consistently answering no, then you need an assistant to whom you can delegate tasks — not an intern.

p)))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Do you have the time to train an intern and provide support throughout the internship? Running an internship program is time-consuming! Interns aren’t just cheap labor. They’re not assistants hired specifically to

They’re still learning the industry so they’ll have constant questions for you, and you’ll need to watch their work closely.

p((((((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Do you want to mentor a young person? As we said above, inviting interns to work for you is a way of giving back by teaching students industry and real-world work best practices. If you don’t have the time, energy or personality to be a professional role model and teacher, hire an assistant instead.








p)))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Do you have higher-level projects for them to work on? Yes, your intern will probably end up doing entry-level tasks, but he or she should also have the opportunity to work with you or other experienced employees on projects that move the business forward. They took this opportunity to learn

about the exciting elements of the business world, not spend a summer doing data entry (though this is the perfect task for an intern to take off your plate).

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Can you afford to be less productive in the short term?

You’ll be teaching interns both how to do their tasks and how to act in an office setting. This might take you away from your own workload or slow you down for a few weeks. Do you have that time to spare?

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Do you want to hire from your intern pool? If you’re not planning to hire an intern, it might not be a good use of time and resources to train short-term workers who will move on in a semester.





Recruit the Best


Recruiting the right interns is just as important as ensuring a member of your team is skilled and fits in with your organization’s culture. If you’re going to put in the time to train and mentor them, make sure they’re the right candidate.


So Where Do You Find the Best Interns?



College career fairs and on-campus recruiting are the most effective places for recruiting interns, as students who take the time to attend career fairs are motivated to join the workforce. Pair with a particular professor or major/program: Those in

to get that person on my radar and then I can connect them with the right people. I also think it’s important when the company invites us to visit and also when they visit us — visiting classes or sponsoring a career fair booth — to motivate students.”





Don’t forget about word-of-mouth marketing: If you love your current interns, ask them to refer equally motivated friends for your next internship cycle. If they have an awesome experience with your company they’ll organically tell their friends, and you’ll have candidates knocking down your doors! Also, their professors will refer their current students to you.


Keep in mind that universities are in contact with larger organizations and may not be aware of internship positions with smaller companies/ solopreneurs. Don’t ignore smaller schools such as liberal arts colleges.


Post open internship positions on:

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. University career sites

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Your company’s career site

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Your social media outlets


Don’t stop there. Post internships on:

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Craigslist

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. LinkedIn

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Monster College

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. YouTern

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. InternMatch

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. CollegeRecruiter

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Internships

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. InternJobs

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Chegg Internships


Internships aren’t limited to undergrads; ask colleges about grad students. Grad students have more life/work experience and usually are more skilled in particular niches (e.g., accounting, MBAs, etc.).


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|<>. p((<>{color:#000;}. What Millennials Want |<>. p<>{color:#000;}.   | <>. |<>. p<>{color:#000;}.   |<>. p<>{color:#000;}.   |<>. p<>{color:#000;}.   | <>. |<>\3. p<>{color:#000;}.  



Chances are that if you’re looking for interns in 2016, you’ll need to appeal to today’s college student demographic: the Millennial.


Below is a list of what Millennials look for in an internship. Consider these as you position your company in job postings and with schools. (Notice that getting paid is the lowest of their priorities!)


p((((((())))))))))<>{color:#000;}. 67.4% want opportunities for long term career advancement.

p((((((())))))))))<>{color:#000;}. 66.3% want an internship relevant to their major/minor.

p(((((((<>{color:#000;}. 51.5% want access to executives and mentorship.


p(((((((<>{color:#000;}. [* 49.2% want work/life ] *balance.


p(((((((<>{color:#000;}. 48.8% want a clearly defined assignment.


p(((((((<>{color:#000;}. 47.4% want to receive compensation.


Looksharp 2014 State of the Internship Report |



Finding the Right Candidate



In your job posting, let candidates know you’ll be checking references, asking for school transcripts and holding multiple interviews. They’ll know you’re serious about picking the right person, and the rigorous process weeds out unmotivated applicants. Asking for professional references ensures that they’ve held a job, even if part-time, in the past and are responsible enough to hold another.


Once you begin the interview process, go easy on your interviewees. This may be their first real-world interview, so they may be nervous and flub their answers. Be patient.








Many have little relevant experience and/or skills in the industry (that’s why they’re looking for an internship in the first place), so look instead for enthusiasm about the industry and relevant coursework. As in a regular interview, look for appropriate attire and basic manners.


When you’ve narrowed down the intern pool, ask to see finished school projects, particularly if they have no experience in the field.


Note: Meet with professors responsible for college internship programs to see what’s expected of the student and the employer.








Build a Valuable Intern Program



In their first few days on the job, interns need:


p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Clear Expectations: Talk to them about how their performance will be evaluated, how they will be paid (or what benefits they will receive if unpaid), and who their point person is. Write out their internship goals, review those with them, then have the intern sign the intern agreement.

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Detailed Curriculum: The intern curriculum outline gives tasks that are realistic for an intern’s skill level and available time. Many companies, particularly small ones, don’t have set-in- stone, documented processes. In order to delegate to interns, give them a basic curriculum and the name of the person to go to for clarity regarding different projects. Hand out a list of FAQs to save yourself time repeating answers to multiple interns; include basic processes and team names/roles. Ask your interns to update this document for future intern classes.

p)))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Ongoing projects: Interns are creatively stimulated and intellectually challenged; the days of the stereotypical gofer are over.




p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. An orientation: A formal orientation gives interns a chance to meet team members and get to know each other. They will also learn the ins and outs of the office.


p((((((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. An icebreaker helps interns get to know each other and you. This is an opportunity to break down any feelings that you are the “authority” figure to be feared. They’ll be more likely to come up to you later in the internship if they get to know you on a more personal level. Ask each intern to introduce his or her partner to the group, telling the partner’s name, school, major, hometown, and something interesting about that person.

p((((((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. It’s beneficial to have upper management — including the CEO — attend and speak to the interns during the orientation. They’ll be excited to meet the higher-ups and motivated by upper management’s commitment to the program.

p((((((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. This is an opportunity for all interns to fill out paperwork together so you can address all questions rather than answering them separately.






Managing Your Intern



As we mentioned, interns take time. Spend a few minutes every day reviewing tasks and determining if they need clarity. Provide progress reports throughout the internship. Remember interns are young, inexperienced and need feedback. While it takes time and tact to be honest with them, this approach helps them prepare for their careers.


Invite your interns to give you feedback as well — an internship program should be continually evolving. ONTRAPORT Intern Coordinator Jasmine Maggard says, “Communication should be totally free-flowing. We want our interns to have the best possible experience and neither they nor we are mind readers.”


Director of Internships at Westmont Jennifer Taylor says, “Treat the intern like a real employee. Every intern is going to need to do some grunt work. It’s part of the deal, but in the end, it’s least satisfactory to both parties if it’s just about cleaning the office and making sure that the coffee’s on.”


Solopreneur Fay Johnson agrees, “Treat interns as colleagues and treat their input as valuable as anyone else’s.”


It’s important to teach the interns early to follow up with you regarding their scheduled tasks; this way they’ll learn to “manage up,” a necessary skill in today’s workplace.


Take notes on what and how they’re doing, both for progress reports and so that you’ll have a list of accomplishments for a letter of reference and LinkedIn recommendation post-internship.





What Happens Next?


Internships are an extended experiential interview; you’ll get a few months to assess their skills, attitude and cultural fit. At the conclusion of the internship, you may want to bring on an intern full or part-time. That’s awesome!


On the other hand, if you don’t have the resources to do so, or the intern wasn’t a good fit for your organization, hold an exit interview so you can give them an honest assessment of their strengths and weakness — and they can do the same for your internship program.


Leave them with a good impression of your business:


p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Take the time to thank them and say goodbye properly —

cupcakes are always appropriate!


p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Recommend them on LinkedIn.

p))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Write them a letter of recommendation if needed for, say, grad school.

p)))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Meet or email their professor with a report of their progress and performance.


An internship program is the perfect symbiotic relationship: interns get real world work experience and mentorship while you get tasks taken off your plate… and the fulfillment of making a difference in a young person’s life.








We’re a software company that gives entrepreneurs and small businesses the online tools they need to grow their business instead of getting mired in the day-to-day of their business. Since our product launched in 2008, our mission has been to support entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology. ONTRAPORT is an incredibly powerful all- in-one tool that fully automates your small business.


ONTRAPORT Founder and CEO Landon Ray created ONTRAPORT while running another small business. He wanted to run his business on one platform

— and realized there was no such product out there! Landon decided if he

couldn’t find it, he’d build it. ONTRAPORT was created soon after.



Today, ONTRAPORT supports thousands of entrepreneurs across the world. We’ve been on Inc.’s 500/5000 list three years running, named twice as one of Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies, named as the SIIA Software CODiE Award Finalist for Best Relationship Management Solution and Best Marketing Automation Solution, and that’s not all.


Landon’s dream came true… and yours can, too! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and tell us what your dream looks like.




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How to Recruit Interns

Hiring is tough for entrepreneurs. You need a talented, entry-level person to join your business but, to do it right, what you need is a hiring plan and an internship program. Entrepreneurs and small businesses who have had positive, rewarding relationships with interns know the importance of bringing in young people through an internship, but the key to success is a structured program to guide the internship process from the first interview to the exit interview. A structured internship program will ensure that the intern's time with your business benefits both of you. Learn more about what goes into a mutually beneficial internship program, including intern hiring and management tips.

  • Author: ONTRAPORT
  • Published: 2015-09-14 23:20:14
  • Words: 2434
How to Recruit Interns How to Recruit Interns