Hiring an intern? Here’s 13 things you need to know

Hiring an intern for Indian Companies

In the past, interns have always been the looked upon just as an addition to the number of people who came to, and left from the workplace every day. Internships were usually some part of academic syllabi that may or may not add to the credits, and hence a rather carefree attitude existed between the company and the intern.

But times are changing, and if you are still among the few left who hold that ideology, then you are definitely losing out. For most start-ups and small companies, it is a tricky decision of whether or not to hire interns. So here is a list of check points you may want to look at, in order to evaluate when your company would be ready to recruit, train and gain from an intern:

1] What do you need? Before you go on a hiring spree, discuss with your heads of department and analyse the need, if any for an extra set of hands. This will help broadly identify projects for an internship program

2 ] Be specific Break down the projects into a structured set of task and measurable goals. This will also help you explain the job to the intern

3] Matching goals Look for interns who are eager to learn something from your company. With the objectives of the internship explained well, consider those applicants who have career goals which would complement the achievement of your company’s objective. Your interviews should be centred on this discussion

4] Passion, experience or skill? What’s more important to you? Most interns would be young, at the start of their careers. Identifying the ones who are excited about your company would normally lead to a fruitful internship experience. Experience and skill count as well, but we feel that with passion for the job, attaining everything else would not be too difficult.

5] Really Basic needs This doesn’t always mean a monetary remuneration. Interns, like any other employee, have the basic need to be acknowledged. Many companies seldom forget the simplest of things to do to prepare for an intern. Finding a permanent seat around the office, introducing the new intern to the people, etc., if overlooked, will affect the morale of the intern significantly. Make preparations to welcome interns.

6] A formal Induction As the interns play very specific functions, not all companies need to induct them. But giving an intern a complete idea about the company and its objectives enables him/her to have a broader outlook while performing tasks.

7] Guidance, guidance and some more guidance Assigning a mentor to the intern makes the entire experience much more rewarding. Especially in the initial days when the intern may be learning the ropes, having someone to guide them, and monitor their progress allows you to control the outcome of the internship.

8] Another secret about Guidance Hiring an intern is like hiring a test employee. By asking a mentor to be a little difficult to reach, you can establish really how passionate the intern may be to get the job done. Finding that intern with a fire in the belly can be a rewarding experience for any company as well as a significant reduction in hiring costs in the future.

9] Pick a style and stick to it Be consistent with the interns when it comes to your style of management. In other words, don’t offer them complete creative freedom on one day and micromanage their tasks on another.

10] You may want to write this down Since you know what the internship project will be about, decide from the start whether it is a one time job, or an ongoing process. This way, documentation shall be added to the tasks of the intern from the very beginning. This way, you can continue from when the intern left off.

11] Intern today, employee tomorrow So you managed to find the intern who can just fit right in. Like that missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is your company. But you don’t have the resources to hire him/her, not right now at least. This can turn out to be quite a waste of your time an energy. Always keep the buffer in mind that you should be able to hire the intern if needed. After all, an intern is a trained, tried and tested resource.

12] Free PR This digitally active generation share their experience actively with friends and family. For any organization, a free positive word of mouth is never a bad thing.

13] Hiring low cost too early, isn’t always cheap Start-ups may be tempted to procure some low cost, or even unpaid resources in the form of interns. We recommend paying interns for 2 reasons, viz. A larger pool of talent as well as a more engaged intern.

At times, paying multiple interns minimal amounts can be less productive and more costly than hiring a single experienced individual. Weigh your options well before setting up an internship program.