Hiring a Summer Intern? Here Are Five Best Practices

By Kellie Rondon on May 24, 2023
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The opportunity to work with a small business can be particularly advantageous for summer interns. Within small businesses, interns often have the ability to work on larger and more impactful projects.

Interns get to work one-on-one with mentors and let their skills and passions shine. In this post, I'll highlight five of the best practices for hiring interns in your small business, so that both you and your interns can get the most out of the summer. 

1. Consider Working with the School's Career Office to Arrange Course Credit for Your Intern

Even if you can't offer particularly high pay for an intern, you might be able to "sweeten the pot" by offering course credit for your internship. To accomplish this, you can work with the school's career office to certify your internship program.

They'll likely ask you for a rough outline of what the intern will do, learn, and contribute to your organization. While you won't need to be exact, you will need to prove that your intern will learn something new and add value to your company. 

The typical "credit value" of an internship may fall between one-to-three course credits, depending on the internship's length and the type of work that will be completed. Course credits can really add up for interns; for example, at Kansas State University's Manhattan campus, three credits for Kansas resident students are worth $948

do we have to pay our interns

2. Be Clear About the Type of Pay, Benefits & Perks Your Business Offers 

Depending on a multitude of factors, including the type of work involved, the number of hours worked, and regulations in your state or city, you may need to pay your intern for the work they're doing for you. If you need help determining whether or not you are required to pay your intern, reach out to the experts at Axcet HR Solutions. 

In any event, you should be clear about the type of pay and benefits that you can offer in your job description or other recruiting materials. If you can offer money, that's great, but if not, you should highlight the experiences that your intern(s) will benefit from during their summer with you.

Will they get to work closely with managers, partners, or the owner of the company? Will they have hands-on experience that will look great on a resume? Consider all the exciting pros of your internship program, and let applicants know.

RELATED:What Employers Need to Know About Hiring Summer Interns >> 

3. Plan Activities for Engagement Outside of the Office

Between picnics, barbecues and baseball games, summer can truly be the perfect time to plan a company-wide event. Include your interns! If it's appropriate for the type of program they're working through, you can even involve them in the planning of the event.

Engaging activities outside of the office are a chance for your employees and interns to get to know each other as people (something that bodes well for the intern's future career at your company).

Even if a company-wide outing isn't in the budget for your company this summer, a simple lunch out where the intern is included can do wonders for bonding. 

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4. Outline the Intern's Short and Long-Term Goals

One of the many benefits of interning for a small business is that interns can get the most out of their summer through projects that have an actual impact on your firm. Lean into this benefit by designing an internship program that focuses on your intern's interests, major or career goals. They may have short-term and long-term goals, which you can find out either during the interview process or at the beginning of the summer. 

While the ultimate goal may be to integrate the intern into your company post-graduation, your intern may have short-term goals too, such as exposure to a certain department, project or experience in a specific skill set. You won't necessarily know exactly what your intern is interested in or expecting if you don't ask.

RELATED:Onboarding Sets Interns Up for Success >> 

5. Offer Interns a Chance to Experience Different Facets of the Company's Work

Rotation-style internships are growing in popularity among mid-size and larger businesses, but small businesses are in a unique position to offer rotations, as well. Rotation internships are designed to "rotate" an intern through varying departments, projects and teams throughout a company. When offered at a small business, an intern can depart from the program knowing much more about how your company operates from soup to nuts. 

Rotation programs provide interns with the opportunity to gain experience in several areas of your business, ultimately helping the intern determine where their interests and natural abilities lie. It will also reveal for your company where a particular intern can add the most value. Rotations are especially helpful if the goal of an internship is job placement post-graduation.

Axcet HR Solutions: Your Human Resources & Employee Relations Experts 

Building an internship program from the ground up can be intimidating for even the most experienced managers and business owners, but you don't have to do it alone. The human resources and employee relations experts at Axcet HR Solutions have you covered. Employee relations is just the beginning of what we offer at Axcet. To find out how we can help your small business, reach out to our experts today. 

Axcet HR Solutions HR PEO Services

Written by Kellie Rondon

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