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How to Find Interns to Fit Your Needs

Hiring interns can give your staff extra help while also introducing new ideas and perspectives. Your interns could also become full-time employees — the internship period can be a test run with prospective candidates. Learn how to find interns that are a good fit for your company to enjoy these benefits.

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Identify your needs

Determine which areas of your business could benefit from having an intern. If you’re getting ready to launch a new advertising campaign, you might hire a marketing intern to help with the extra workload. If your office manager has been handling your social media, you could hire a social media intern to take over the job and improve your social media strategy. Once you know what kind of intern you want, you can get specific with the skills and experience you want the candidates to have.

Detail the position

You might not be hiring a permanent employee, but having a job description for your intern position helps define the role. It allows interns to understand what’s expected and what opportunities they’ll have. Determine if the position is paid or unpaid and how long it’ll last. Add any perks and benefits that the chosen candidate will receive. List the responsibilities and expectations for the role. When you’re determining how to find interns, you can refer to these details to help you promote your opportunities.

Make the offer appealing

Finding interns for your business can help you save money on labor costs, but the intern should also get value out of the opportunity.. Showing appreciation in little ways, such as celebrating National Intern Day, can turn interns into brand ambassadors, for example.

Other ways to make your internships more appealing include:

  • Giving interns autonomy over meaningful projects

  • Offering a flexible schedule

  • Incorporating a mentorship program with your top employees

  • Offering special training opportunities

  • Providing paid time off and other perks and benefits your regular employees receive

Your budget helps determine what you offer your interns. If you’re on a limited budget, you might not be able to offer paid benefits. Instead, focus on free options, like giving your interns real work that makes an impact or letting them set their schedule.

Vary your intern sourcing

Knowing where to find interns can improve your success in finding people with the skills you need. If you’ve looked for interns in the past with little luck, varying where you look for interns can help. Here are some suggestions.

1. Local colleges

Partnering with local colleges and universities can give you a steady flow of intern candidates. Many institutions have career placement offices that help students find internships and jobs. Sharing your information there could increase applications to your internship program.

2. Referrals

Companies often create referral programs to fill full-time positions, but you can also use them to recruit interns. Your current employees or interns might know others who are pursuing a career in your industry. A small financial incentive can encourage more referrals.

3. Your website

If you have a careers page on your website, expand it to include information for interns. Explain your internship program, including the perks and benefits. List your internship openings as you do with regular job vacancies. Allow interested candidates to apply online through a process similar to your online job applications.

4. Social media

Spread the word about your internship opportunities on your social media platforms. Encourage your followers to share your posts about your internships. You can also join groups on social media platforms that relate to your industry to connect with people who might be interested.

5. Networking

Reaching out to others in the business world could result in recommendations for your internship. Vendors, suppliers and other business owners are good resources for finding intern candidates. Let everyone know you’re searching because you never know who might have a connection to someone who fits your needs.

6. Industry organizations

People who are new to the field and looking for internships often find various ways to get involved in the industry. Professional organizations related to your industry or the type of position can help you connect with people who want internships. Some of these organizations have areas where businesses can post their opportunities.

7. Recruiting events

Participating in recruiting events such as job fairs can help you find interested interns. If you can’t find a local recruiting event, consider hosting one yourself. An open house gives interested candidates a chance to see your office and meet some staff members.

How to find interns legally

While you’re learning how to find interns, don’t forget to brush up on the legalities of internships. If you choose not to pay your interns, they must meet specific requirements established by the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you pay your interns, they typically must receive at least minimum wage, and you typically have to pay them overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. You’ll need to complete the proper paperwork for the interns and adhere to any state laws related to internships. Working with a labor attorney can help you keep your internship program legal.

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