Marketing & Growth

5 Advantages an Intern Can Bring to Your Small Business

By Caron Beesley

Summer is right around the corner and intern hiring season is full swing. If your small business doesn’t have an internship program you may be missing out. Interns today can be immediately productive, bring extensive connections, and can be nurtured as future employees, making recruitment and onboarding much easier.

Not convinced? Here are five advantages that an intern can bring to your small business:

Interns Have Skills Most of Us Never Did
When I started my first “proper” job, technology was a steep learning curve. Computers were not something we were taught at school and the Internet didn’t exist, so productivity came at a price (and lots of self-inflicted overtime on my part). Today, that learning curve is much shorter. Students are grounded in technology, they are comfortable with it, they know how to research and get answers (thank you Google) and they are eager to learn more. This makes it much easier to plug an intern into your organization and realize their impact right away.

Some Even Come Trained and Ready for the Workplace
Of course, not all interns are going to be as polished in the workplace or as effective as you might have hoped for. The good news is that intern search sites can help connect you with candidates who are already trained to deliver. For example, Internships.com’s Intern Certification Program (ICP) teaches candidates basic professional competencies (communication, customer focus, problem-solving skills, etc.) before connecting them with potential employers.

You can Save on Recruitment Costs
Recruiting staff is a costly business for small employers. According to Investopedia.com, even new hires who earn $8 an hour can end up costing a company around $3,500 in turnover costs (advertising, working with a recruiter, hours spent interviewing, doing background checks, etc).

Now that’s not to say there aren’t costs involved with running an internship program. If you’re serious about your program then you need to compensate your interns. The average hourly rate for an intern with a degree is $16.35 (minimum wage and overtime laws also apply). The investment often pays off, according to Internships.com, former interns stick around and make up an average of 40% of entry level employees.

That being said, it’s okay not to pay your interns, but be very careful about the type of work you give them or you risk breaking the law. The U.S. Department of Labor has established six criteria that your internship program must meet if the internship is to be unpaid, check them out here.

Interns Can Help You Hire Others
College students have significant networks, both social and otherwise, and assuming you have a happy intern, the chances that they’ll refer friends and acquaintances for future internship or career opportunities is high, something that can save you recruitment time and costs.

Internship Programs are Good for Your Brand
Nothing says you care more about your local community and its students than a nurturing and development-focused internship program.

Learn More
So what are you waiting for? Check out the resources below for more information on setting up an internship program and recruiting college interns:

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