It’s almost May, and millions of students will soon be on summer break. Have you thought about tapping one of today’s bright young minds?
A summer intern, whether a college or high school student, can provide a small business a host of benefits. It gives the business access to a freshly educated young perspective—and usually at an affordable price.
But hiring an intern only makes sense if you find a reliable one with the right skills. Here are six tips for finding a fabulous summer intern:
1. Define what you need. Before starting your intern search, think about what kind of person would bring the most value to your business and what skills or experience the intern should possess. Want someone who knows how to run a killer social media campaign? Need a graphic designer or a data-crunching whiz for a special project? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: Your intern doesn’t have to be an apprentice—she or he can bring new skills that your business needs.
2. Add value to their resume. Remember that hiring an intern shouldn’t just benefit you; it should offer the intern an enriching and fun summer experience and give them some impressive skills to put on their resume. Consider how your business’s internship will help the intern and then craft your search and message around those benefits, and set up an effective internship program to make it worth both your time and theirs.
3. Look in the right places. Hiring an intern can be more trouble than it’s worth if you don’t find the right fit. There’s always Craigslist, of course. But get savvier in your search. Consider posting a listing on job and internship boards at local colleges and connect with student advisors in the departments where your ideal intern would likely study. (For instance, if you need a summer marketing intern, reach out to an academic advisor in the communications or marketing department or even the business school.) Sites like InternMatch and Internships.com also specialize in connecting businesses with prospective interns. Also consider using LinkedIn to search for young adults in your area looking for internships and posting a listing on LinkedIn’s Student Jobs Portal. Also check out the innovative approach to finding interns taken by bridal search engine Loverly.
4. Understand the laws. The federal government has rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) around hiring interns, including six key criteria that help businesses gauge whether they need to pay their interns. (Hint: Read next tip.)
5. Pay them. Several large media companies, including Fox Searchlight, Conde Nast and Gawker Media, have been sued by former unpaid internships who claimed they should have been compensated for the work they performed. You can avoid such issues by simply paying your intern at least minimum wage. Paying your interns can also make sure they feel valued and have a better overall internship experience.
6. Don’t wait too long. Competition for summer interns has heated up, and many talented college and high school students have already lined up their summer gigs. But don’t let that deter you. It’s gotten a lot harder for even talented young people to find meaningful summer work, and your business can be the one that provides it for them.
Read more articles on interns.
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