It’s June! The wonderful month when all your employees are trying to go on vacation or get married
and you need an intern to fill in the holes. Unfortunately, if you are just now thinking about this, you may have missed the boat. A lot of companies start thinking about recruiting summer interns around the first of the year. But if you want to snag somebody now—or even, frankly, for a future intern gig—there are some important planning steps you need to take.
• Write a Job Description: As I’ve written about before, the days of enlisting a student to make coffee, pick up your laundry and get lunch for employees and calling them an intern are past. The Department of Labor has strict rules about what an internship is and isn’t and they penalize companies that ignore those rules. If you’re going to hire an intern, you need a clear description of what that intern’s duties are going to be and how the intern will be supervised and achieve educational objectives through that internship. And make sure you’re thorough.
• Check with the School: Most students do internships for either college or high school credit and schools have very specific requirements about what qualifies. There may be paperwork to fill out and documentation that needs to be turned in at the end of the internship. Do not leave this step up to the poor kid, it’s a kid. If you have a really promising candidate you want to hire, make sure you find out from the school exactly what that intern is expected to deliver at the completion of the internship and that your position meets those requirements. This will not only really help your intern get credit rather than squander his time, but it will help you become a place the school sends students to for future internships.
• Find Out the Going Rate: Again, you’re the employer. You need to find out what’s the going rate for the kind of work the student is going to be doing. Do not ask the student. You can check on Glassdoor or a site like Internmatch. A lot of the decision about what to pay an intern depends on what caliber of intern you want. If you want the best interns, you’ll pay competitively and offer the kind of internship that gives them great skills for a future job search. The issue there is that you have to have someone really focused on supervising them so they’re able to execute.
If you can create a reputation as a great place for students to intern, you’ll eventually get a reputation and have interns seeking you out rather than the other way around. And it could give you the jump on some great full-time candidates for the future. So, go find an intern and good luck!
We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.