Hiring an Intern: Learn today – do it tomorrow!

By Adam Robinson,
May 11, 2012

Monday is a big day in the history of Hireology as our very first intern will walk through the doors to begin her 3 month adventure with us! We are so excited to welcome Molly and crown her a junior Hireologist, however it got me thinking: as a company who has never hired an intern before where should you begin?

Luckily there are some great HR blogs out there and with a little feedback from our Chief Hireologist I was able to determine the best way to hire an intern. First, decide why you need an intern. If your first thought is ‘YAHOO free labor!’ think twice! In the last few years there have been several lawsuits brought against companies that have overworked and underpaid innocent interns! So before you decide to post an intern opening make sure you can answer yes to all of these questions from Gigaom author Charles Hamilton:

  • Do you have a task/project that would be suitable to give an intern?
  • Do you have the time to train and supervise an intern?
  • Can you provide a professional work environment?
  • Can you pay an intern? (If not can you provide vital experience?)

If you answered YES to all of these questions then congratulations my friend you are ready to hire an intern! Let’s start with the basics. Hamilton recommends building a plan for your future intern before the hiring process begins, so decide how much time an intern should spend with you. 8-10 hours a week is good for interns still taking classes and you can increase it for those on summer break. Make sure you have a clear and concise schedule as most interns are learning time management!

Consider what skills a potential intern will need to work well with you. Many college students have very well rounded skills and can perform several different tasks, so make a list of what you’re looking for and consider similar experience during the interview process. My first internship consisted of running the Dizzy Bat game and selling tickets at (very) minor league baseball field. With that experience I landed a dream internship with an events company in downtown Chicago without ever managing an event in my life! The company saw that I had relevant experience in other fields and was confident I could build on it.

The next step in hiring an intern is to write an awesome job description. You can refer to my past blog post called Hiring Millennials: How to write Killer Job Descriptions so you can learn everything about luring in Generation Y!

Finally it’s time to post your internship description. As of 2010, 86% of 18-29 year-olds were on some sort of social media network which is where you should be advertising your internship! A simple post to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter daily should do the trick. Word-of-mouth is a great way to find candidates as well!

Our Chief Hireologist, Adam Robinson said when he was looking for an intern he was searching for a candidate with the willingness to succeed, an abundance of energy, and absolutely no demands for the position! The right intern will be interested in your business but also very eager to learn and soak up the experience so they can be ready for a full time position when the time comes.

When you’re ready to review applicants and begin hiring, consider using Hireology. Our platform provides everything you need to pick top performers with job profiling, interview guides, and a social recruiting tool! Remember your business is only as good as the people who work there. Good luck!

Want even more tips on hiring millennials, download our free guide!

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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