Looking to Host an Intern?
Follow these key steps to set yourself up for a great internship experience.
Create an Internship Plan
Choosing to hire an intern requires a lot of planning and decision making. It is important to assess your company resources, needs, and availability of meaningful work. Questions to answer include where the intern will work, what types of work would they be responsible for, are there any projects that we need help on that would provide a good learning experience, do we have anyone that can supervise them regularly?
Paid or Unpaid?
Internships can be paid or unpaid. Choosing to not pay an intern decreases an employer's pool of highly qualified candidates by eliminating those that could not afford it. If you can pay your intern, create a budget and determine the salary or compensation structure you can afford. There are 6 criteria an employer must legally follow per the U.S. Department of Labor to offer an unpaid internship.
Choose Type of Internship
There are different types of internships an employer can offer. Three of the most common types include "term", "virtual" and "rotation". Each type varies in duration and what time of year it will be offered.
Organize Internship Details
In addition to scheduling your start date, draft a detailed description, list of assigned tasks and an outline of the learning objectives that will be associated with the internship. Where will your interns sit, what computers will they use?
Assign Supervisor and Key Roles
An intern should be supervised with weekly meetings to regularly review assigned duties, projects, and to answer any questions the intern may have regarding their work. This provides necessary mentoring and builds on the learning experience objective.
Review Legal Requirements
Consult with your company's legal counsel or contact an employment law professional to get you started on key issues including minimum wage requirements, worker's compensation issues, safety and harassment policies, termination guidelines, and how other benefits do or don't apply to interns.
Post the Internship
Now that you have an internship plan in place with a start date, outlined assigned duties, determined if paid or unpaid, legal requirements, school credit etc. it is time to post your internship. 7-10 weeks from the start date is a good cushion for posting an internship. Be specific about the type of job and occupation you are hiring for and the position's learning objectives.
Interview and Hire
Interviewing and hiring an intern should be very similar to your process in hiring a regular employee except rather than experience as your focus, you'll want to look at the skills, traits and training the candidates are looking for as a match to your objectives. Remember, this is your opportunity to "test drive" the talent as a possible new-hire in the future. Be thorough in your evaluation of each candidate just as you would for a regular hire.
Send Offer Letter and Internship Package
When hiring an intern it is important to send them an offer letter outlining the internship's responsibilities, compensation package, expectations, and informing them of their supervisor and onboarding schedule. As a precaution, this is your opportunity to also state the internship is "temporary or seasonal" and outline the timeframe that they will be employed to avoid unemployment insurance claims, or ACA compliance issues.
Schedule Onboarding and Orientation
A thorough onboarding event for your intern(s) is crucial to the success of your program and giving your student the opportunity to understand how your company works, all of the occupations involved in your place of business, and networking. Everyone in your place of business should be informed in advance of the arrival of your interns and that they will be introduced company-wide. Their assigned supervisors should go over their job description, discuss expectations, projects, and develop some goals with their intern that will be reviewed in weekly meetings. As with a new hire, they will need to understand the technology they will be using, provided with network access, shown where they will work, and understand the office layout.
Reference Packet for Employers Legal Guidelines