How Small Business Owners Provide for Their Summer Interns
School is out for the Summer for many College students across the country, and a large number of them are either currently interning or searching for an internship to gain valuable skills and experience they can take back to school with them in the Fall. There are many benefits to having an internship program, for both business owners and for the interns themselves, so if your business is looking for some extra help with entry level tasks, it can be a good idea to take advantage of the flood of college age talent returning home over the Summer looking for something productive to do. Should you choose to bring on some interns, as a courtesy to them (and to ensure that you can get some new ones next year) here are a few things that you should take care of in order to make everyone’s experience a positive one.
Make sure they understand the compensation you are offering. Interns are able to either work for a salary or stipend, or for college credit. In order to offer college credit, you are going to have to fill out paperwork from their school, so it may or may not be worth it to just give them an appropriate wage. Most of the time interns will be looking for a positive and informative experience over a set amount of compensation, but you can get into legal trouble by inviting them to work for free without any type of remuneration. You may want to offer your interns a choice between credit or paid compensation, since, depending on their school, the cost of a single credit might be high enough to justify taking it instead of an actual salary.
Ensure that they will have something to do. Taking on an intern just for the sake of taking one on does not make any sense, since you will be wasting both your time and theirs. Instead, plan ahead of their appointed start time to make sure that they will be working with someone who can show them what they need to know and what they will be doing. Utilize all of the intern’s skill sets outlined by their resumes, for example, the tech savvy nature of many college students may make your intern a great candidate for instructing employees how to use certain kinds of technology.
Give them some real skills. All too often, interns come away from an internship experience wishing that they had been given a chance to do something more meaningful. While you are not going to turn over your important projects to be managed by a part time intern, you can allow them to serve as assistants on big projects, managing smaller details in order to make your key employees more effective. The closer proximity that they take to employees in real leadership roles, the better they will be able to absorb what they see in the form of acquired skills.
Photo Credit to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr