Pros and Cons of taking on an intern for your small business

Charles BrecqueCharles Brecque
Last updated on:
January 21, 2022
Published on:
January 9, 2022

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If you’ve ever considered taking on an intern for your small business, you probably had a lot of questions. Whether you’re a startup or established business owner, there are several benefits and drawbacks to hiring interns that a lot of people don’t think about. This guide will cover some of the pros and cons of taking on an intern for your small business.

What is an intern?

An intern is a person who completes an internship at your company in order to gain experience. An internship can be paid or unpaid although there are legal implications about whether an intern is considered a volunteer, worker or a paid employee. Volunteers are unpaid interns who are typically shadowing experienced employees whereas worker interns must be paid the national minimum wage because they a creating an economic benefit for the internship provider. Employees will pay national insurance contributions and receive a pension from their employer. You can read our internship examples to determine if an internship agreement is the right agreement for you.

What are the pros of taking on an intern?

Fresh perspective

Interns are usually young people without much work experience which means that they can bring a fresh perspective to your company. Interns can be brought in to work on a short-term project which would be too distracting for your team to consider right now or interns can be brought on to think of new ways existing solutions can be done.

New skill sets

Interns can complement your team with new skill sets which allows you to cost-effectively assess if you need to hire a full-time employee to fill in the gaps or not. For example, if you are unsure about your company's social media strategy, hire a creative college student as a social media intern.

Hiring interns as employees

Taking on interns is a great way to meet and assess prospective employees. Making job offers to interns who satisfy your business needs and can demonstrate they fit in with your company culture will help you save time on your recruitment efforts. Moreover, hiring interns as employees can improve your retention.

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What are the cons of taking on an intern?

Time and availability

Taking on an internship can take a lot of a small business owner's time and resources especially if you do not have a dedicated human resources or intern program to manage the recruitment, onboarding and internship process. Moreover, you should anticipate managing interns remotely because coronavirus or other factors which are out of your control.

Sufficient tasks and planning

Interns will require supervision and task planning which means that you might need to anticipate additional tasks if ever the originally planned ones are completed earlier. Moreover, new tasks might require additional training programs you will need to budget.


Unless your intern is only shadowing you, it is likely minimum wage laws require you to provide your intern with a paid internship. Entrepreneurs do not always have sufficient budget for interns which is why it is important to assess the strategic value of the internship against the costs to determine if your business is ready for taking on an intern or not.

How to take on an intern?

Once you have weighed the pros and cons of taking on an intern and determined they can contribute valuable work to your business, you can prepare a job description for the internship and circulate it on job boards and with local University internship programs. You can conduct an interview process to determine which intern will fit in best with your company and make them an offer. You will then need to create an internship agreement which specifies if it is a paid or unpaid internship as well as the intern work hours. To create a lawyer-approved internship agreement in minutes which meets your requirements and offers a professional contracting experience, use Legislate. Moreover, you can use Legislate to create all your essential business contracts such as employment, NDAs, consultancy agreements and policies such as Staff Handbooks.

About Legislate

Legislate is a contracting platform where business owners can create contracts to help grow and develop their business. Legislate's employment offer letters and contracts are key in protecting your IP and Legislate's NDAs are crucial to ensure you can have conversations and partnerships to help develop your business and brand. Book a demo or sign up today to put the confidence back into contracting.

The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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