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3 ways to make your internship program successful

中国日报网 2013-06-20 17:56





Many companies approach hiring interns all wrong. Hiring interns for your company means more than just finding someone to get coffee or run errands for full-time employees. Interns can be the future of your company.

Last year, nearly 60 percent of internsjoined their companies as full-time hires.

Properly run internship programs become invaluable recruiting pipelines because they provide the company with field-tested employees. You don’t have to worry if the interns can do the job or will fit into the company culture; they’ve already proven their abilities.

Hiring the best interns, however, isn’t always easy and making sure they accept your full-time offer can be even more difficult ―especially if they’re talented. So here are three of the best ways to find the right candidates for your internship program and ensure that they accept a full-time offer if and when you make one.

Seek out creativity when hiring interns

It is 2013, so why are you still hiring like it’s 1980? If you want creative interns, you probably need to consider creative ways of attracting them to your company. You need big ideas to keep your company moving forward, and people with vision and enthusiasm are attracted to companies willing to take calculated risks.

Hackathons have become one of the more visible and creative ways that technology companies are recruiting top technology talent. Evernote, for example hosted its first Hackathon in Koreain an effort to recruit top Korean students. One advertising firm had interns apply to their position using the mobile app Draw Something. Candidates with the most creative drawings were selected to move forward in the process.

Tests like these allow employers to see the practical and creative skills of potential interns. Hackathons, for example, push potential interns to quickly solve problems and work within teams, sometimes alongside full-time employees.

Social media is another great way to attract interns. If you are not using social media as part of your intern hiring strategy, then you are missing out, as 26 percent of college students are using Twitter. Using media directed at certain schools or course focuses can help to quickly create attention for your company.

Consider paying your interns

With the high costs of hiring full-time employees, bringing on unpaid interns sounds like a magic bullet, but this is far from true. You are likely to come across hoards of potential interns who are begging for experience and wouldn’t hesitate to work for free. But going this route can have detrimental effects on your internship program and can put your company in legal hot water.

With the job market in a shaky place, it is becoming more common for postgraduates to be taking internships with potential employers. These postgraduates have real expenses, and taking unpaid internships can deter many of them from joining your company. Even if they do accept, 3 to 6 months of no pay can put them in a very difficult financial situation and may ruin the internship period. Receiving a paycheck also gives your interns a better sense that the company values their skills.

Furthermore, from a legal standpoint, it is extremely difficult to have unpaid interns these days, and many companies are getting burned for running free intern programs. Since 2011, there has been a surge in litigation surrounding the use of unpaid interns. The most recent example is the suit against Fox Searchlight Pictures, which is a huge blow to the media and entertainment industry that has traditionally been reliant upon unpaid interns. Apparently, the 2008 “500 Days of Summer” and 2010 “Black Swan” films used unpaid interns for secretarial and janitorial support. Not exactly a learning experience.

Most attorneys would recommend hiring an intern as a part-time employee with salary at least equal to minimum wage. Part-time employees generally have limited or no company benefits, such as health benefits, vacation and sick time, paid holidays, and unemployment compensation, unless required by state labor laws and/or company policies.

Treat your interns like full-time employees

Like any employee, interns want to feel like they are a part of the company. Many employers adopt the mentality that their interns are not real employees and therefore slack on making them feel like part of the team or adopting standard legal practices to onboard them.

One of the biggest errors that companies make when bringing on interns (especially in small organizations like startups), is to not properly inform their full-time employees how to treat interns. This may sound juvenile, but a one-hour informational session can make all the difference. One of the biggest topics to cover is how the interns will be managed. One of the biggest complaints of interns in 2012 (other than having to work for free) was that they were given menial tasks by their supervisor. Give your interns real tasks and challenges. This also helps you as an employer determine whether the intern can handle real challenges as a full-time employee.

Many companies also neglect to have their interns sign up to the usual legalities of part-time or full-time employees. This puts your company at legal risk and can misalign expectations. When onboarding employees, you should at a minimum ensure they agree to the following:

Offer letter

Invention assignment &confidentiality agreement

Equipment agreements

Employee handbook &training (safety, harassment, etc) if offered to full-time employees.

The documents you use for interns, however, cannot just be standard employment agreements; they must be specifically geared towards your interns. For example, you must specifically state in your offer letters that the internship is not a guarantee of employment.

Nurture your internship program and it will produce results

Hiring the right intern candidates for your company is crucial. Approximately 62 percent of full-time employees recruited through an internship program are still employedby the company five years later. This is almost a 15 precent bump in retention over other candidates hired from outside sources. Having a great internship program is no easy task, but if done correctly can become a competitive advantage that you will not regret.








黑客马拉松(Hackathon)已经成为技术公司在招募顶尖技术天才的方法之一。比如,印象笔记(Evernote)在韩国举行它第一次的黑客马拉松,努力招募顶尖韩国学生。在一所广告公司,有实习生使用手机应用程序画画猜词(Draw Something)来申请他们的职位。在这个过程中,画作最具创意的候选人将被筛选出来。






进一步说,从法律的角度看,现在接受无薪实习的确十分困难。许多公司引火上升,实施免费实习生计划。从2011年以来,关于无薪实习的诉讼在激增。最近的一个例子是,福克斯探照灯(Fox Searchlight Pictures)这家在媒体和娱乐有着强大影响力的公司,它早有无薪实习的传统。显然,2008年的《和萨莫的500天》和2010年的《黑天鹅》电影,福克斯利用无薪实习生来做秘书和门卫工作。这不完全是一个学习的过程。
































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