Should You Take a Different Approach When Recruiting Interns?

It is that time of year again when your company may want to hire interns. A large majority of companies hire interns in order to save money or find a potential candidate for future full-time positions, but recruiting these interns is just as difficult as finding full-time employees. Not all interns have what it takes to work in the “real world” just yet, and it is the job of the recruitment team to make sure that the company is hiring interns that will be able to work well in the field. This then begs the inevitable question: Should I recruit inters the same way I recruit full-time staff members?

The answer is of course yes and no. In some aspects hiring is hiring no matter what the position, but there are some things that are different between interns and full-time staff. Consider below some of the things that overlap and then some of the things that vary between the two types of workers:

Hiring an Intern and Using Your Skills

  • Look at References – You always want to talk with past employers when hiring a full-time employee, and the same should go for hiring an intern. Talk with the career center about the student and ask to see some of the student’s work that is related to the field.
  • Advertise on the Internet – This is something that works well for both types of recruitment. Although many students find internships through a career center at his/her college or university, many also find listings online.
  • Determine Your Goals – You always want to know how much you are willing to pay and what the job will entail before recruiting potential candidates. This same idea goes for interns. Know whether it will be paid or unpaid, how long it will last, and what projects you will have the intern complete before you begin recruitment.

 

Hiring an Intern with New Approaches

  • Advertise to Schools – Working with your local colleges and universities is the best way to make sure you get a great candidate. Career Centers are usually in charge of setting up internships for students who are really ready. In other words, the career center will do the work for you—check the student’s GPA, work ethic, skills, etc. However, it’s never a bad idea to do a little bit of background checking on your own.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act – If you are going to hire an unpaid intern, it is important to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act that says all unpaid internships should serve as training. In other words, you absolutely must make sure that you have a variety of tasks for the intern so that he/she can really learn, not simply all the boring work you don’t want to do or going on the company coffee runs.

It is also important to understand what an intern really is for a company. Interns are not always inexpensive to hire, they are not there to do your repetitive work, and they are not lazy. Interns can be a very valuable asset to a company, and this needs to be kept in mind when recruiting the best interns. The position does matter, so take recruitment seriously.

Have you ever been in charge of recruiting interns? What similarities and differences did you find between recruiting an intern and recruiting a full-time employee?

Photo Credit: lindsayolson.com

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to recruitment business plans. She writes for an online resource that gives advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.

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