Growing a team is one of the most crucial parts of building a successful business. Taking on interns can be a great opportunity to grow your business cost effectively whilst gaining fresh perspectives on your processes. An intern is a worker who will gain entry-level work experience at a company for a short duration. Interns can gain their experience via paid or unpaid internships. This article shares a process for finding and hiring interns for your business.
1. Define what your intern will do
Interns are not hired for the same reasons as employees. Interns are a great way for companies to explore projects or ideas they don't have time to investigate with their current resources. Identify which parts of your business could do with some exploration and define a project which could be completed by an intern.
2. Define which interns can complete
Once you have defined the project and broken it down into tasks, you should have an understanding of the experience and skillsets an intern will need to complete it. You should also have an understanding of how much supervision an intern will require. For example, you might be hiring a social media intern to produce reusable templates for your company socials which can be performed by any university student with digital skills. However, if you are looking to explore new Machine Learning models then you'll need a PhD or masters student with a background in coding and maths.
3. Define the hiring process
Before reaching out to candidates or processing CVs and cover letters from inbound applicants, you need to define the interview process so that you can communicate it clearly to intern candidates before they apply. For many interns this will be their first time applying for internships so it is essential you offer a professional interview, hiring and internship experience. Define the number of steps in the application process, who will be involved and what will be asked from the intern at each step to ensure a smooth process.
4. Prepare your brand
Interns are very sensitive to the brand of the company they are going to gain work experience from so you should ensure your company is present on social media and that your company website clearly communicates your company values. If your company has an official internship program, be transparent about what it's like to intern with your company and try and include testimonials from former interns.
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5. A strategy for sourcing interns
Now that you have determined which type of intern you need to hire, what they'll do and, who’s going to interview them, you can start your search for interns. You can advertise your internship opportunities with University career services departments or in student run social media groups. University career services also organise job fairs which you can choose to sponsor. Universities might also require students complete summer internships so you can register with them as an official internship provider if you are likely to take on interns regularly.
You can also source intern candidates by posting adverts on job posting platforms like LinkedIn whilst at the same time reaching out to candidates who meet your desired skillset. The job listing will allow prospective interns to read the job description before responding to your connection request. You can also advertise roles on job boards, specialised job sites like internships.com or in local newspapers.
6. Secure your successful candidates with contracts
Once you have interviewed interns and determined they are a good fit, it is important to give them a first good impression with a smooth contracting experience. Not providing a formal offer letter or contract within hours of making a verbal offer can increase the chances of the candidate dropping out of the process. You should also follow up with candidates who have not been successful to share feedback which will help them with their job search.
The best way of assuring you can provide contracts to candidates in an agile way is to already have the required templates at hand. Companies tend to think of the basics such as employment contracts and non-disclosure agreements but will not think of the internship agreement when hiring their first interns. Moreover, it is important to make sure that the contract templates you use are up-to-date as they might be incomplete or contain illegal clauses. Using an easy-to-use contract management platform like Legislate means you don’t need to worry about not having the right contract at hand or using old templates.
7. Growing your interns into employees
Interns are a great way of growing your business and supporting your long term hiring plans. An internship is the most effective type of job interview and if they fit in well with your team and see a career path with your company then you can offer them a graduate job straight after the internship. This will allow them to be fully trained and integrated with your co-workers before they even start full-time employment. Moreover, successful internships will lead to referrals and you will naturally attract applicants for your future internship vacancies.
In this article we’ve shared our 7 step process for hiring interns quickly and cost-effectively. It is important to do the initial research to make the hiring process effective and adequate contracts will help you secure candidates smoothly. If you have suggestions on how to find interns, let us know! If you are missing contracts in your intern sourcing process, why don’t you try Legislate?
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.