Summer is almost here and one great way to get some help for your business is using summer interns. With the job market still weak, many college and high school students are seeking internships for school credit or work experience. Even though most large company internships are already filled, there is still an opportunity for small businesses to find interns because many motivated students are still unemployed for the summer due to a lack of available jobs.
When the internship position is structured well, both the business and the intern can gain great value. Internships work best when the position description is well thought out and holds some interest for the intern. An engaged intern will give you more value than one who is relegated to seemingly menial and meaningless tasks, so explaining how their work supports the business helps — and a little mentoring can go a long way.
Intern programs are great feeders for hiring staff later, so it’s also a cost-effective recruitment tool for small businesses. One caveat: interns in businesses are actually employees so follow the appropriate labor laws. Just because someone is an intern, it doesn’t mean they can be used as unpaid staff. State and federal wage and labor rules apply so check out both before hiring an intern. College credit and the value of “educational experience” can be an offset in some circumstances, but do your due diligence so that you don’t unintentionally flout the labor laws.