What Small Businesses Should Know About Hiring Interns

Topics: Agent Resources

For small business owners, hiring interns can be personally fulfilling and a smart recruiting strategy. An intern can answer emails, manage your calendar and assist with projects while gaining valuable experience working at your company. There’s a lot to consider before creating an internship program, which is why we’ve provided a list of tips to consider when you set up internships can that attract top talent and add value to your business.

3 Benefits of Internships for Employers

Internships give students an opportunity to expand their skills, try an industry on for size or get a foot in the door at a company. While they’re great for building a resume, your business also benefits from hiring interns because:

  1. Interns can bring a fresh perspective to the table. Encourage them to share ideas and feedback about your company’s processes, strategies and long term business goals. You’d be surprised at the insight you can get from outside perspectives.

  2. Internship programs can help recruit future talent. Approacintern accepting job-minh your internship like a training program for entry-level hires. By teaching interns your processes and strategies, they’ll be prepared to hit the ground running should you extend a job offer.

  3. Interns provide an extra set of hands. Depending on 
    your workload, hiring an intern can help you stay on top of short and long term initiatives. Just make sure you’re giving them enough supervision to complete assignments successfully.

As you can see, there are several benefits of internships for your company. So without further ado, consider the following points to help set up a stellar internship program students want to apply for.

1. Assess your goals for the program

Think about the skills, projects and processes interns should be exposed to. Before recruiting, ask yourself the following questions to create an internship program with clear objectives:
  • What should my interns accomplish?
  • Who will supervise my interns?
  • How will my interns contribute to a larger business goal?
  • Do I have enough work to support a team of interns?
  • Will the interns need any training before the program starts?
  • What is the duration of the internship program?

Getting these details sorted out will help you create a strong foundation for your internship program.

2. Decide if internships are paid or unpaid

Before hiring interns for your small business, it’s important to decide how they will be compensated. Unpaid programs are legally an option, but interns will be limited in the task they can perform.

For example, unpaid interns can shadow other employees and contribute to tasks that don’t have a business need. However, they cannot complete any work contributing to your business’s operations, like answering emails or filing paperwork.

With that in mind, you and your interns will probably get a better return on investment if your program is paid. Compensation also helps attract quality talent.

3. Check workplace and labor laws

In general, most labor laws that apply to employees also apply to interns— including discrimination, workers’ compensation, and health and safety laws. Consulting an attorney before hiring interns can help ensure compliance with local, state and federal regulations.

4. Recruit a team of interns

Treat the recruiting process for interns like you would for a full-time employee. It’s important to interview each candidate to ensure they’re a good fit and that details about the role are understood by both parties. If you choose to hire that person, put an internship agreement in writing so there’s no confusion about things like compensation or program duration.

5. Keep a timesheet for your intern

Every paid intern should have a timesheet for tracking tasks they complete. Make sure they document when they come in and leave each day and subtract any meal breaks longer than 30 minutes. If they work more than 40 hours per week, you must pay them time and a half to comply with federal law.

Creating an internship program can be a rewarding experience that also benefits your business. While there’s a lot to keep in mind, keeping these tips in mind can help you find talented interns that can contribute to your business goals, help with daily tasks and take your company to the next level.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. AmTrust Financial does not represent or warrant that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.
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