How to Hire an Intern for Your Small Business

Many companies hire unpaid interns to perform various tasks around the office. Some companies hire interns merely to have a “gofer” on staff, while other businesses take satisfaction in providing real-world experience to recent or soon-to-be college grads. If your main goal is to find a kid to perform free labor, then you can easily select an intern by just hiring the first person who applies for the position. If you’d rather take the task more seriously and choose an intern based on personality, education, and skill set, then you may find the following tips to be of use:

  • Turn to your local community college or university. If the college has a virtual jobs or internships board, then post a brief ad on that site that explicitly states what you’re looking for in an intern. You should also provide a brief description of what the person will be doing on a daily basis.
  • Conduct interviews. You may not have thought interviews would be necessary, especially since internships are such no-strings-attached, informal positions. Keep in mind, however, that first impressions can be very important. While you shouldn’t select an intern based on his or her appearance, you should hire an individual who has clearly made an attempt to put his or her best foot forward.
  • Ask candidates why they’re seeking internships. Some students must complete internships before they’re able to graduate from school, while others may simply want some real-world experience. Asking a candidate why they’ve applied for an internship with your company allows you to gauge the student’s attitude and evaluate whether they’re genuinely eager for the opportunity or are unenthusiastically completing a requirement.

Above all else, trust your instinct. If you come across an applicant who is polite, put together, and eager to learn, then you probably won’t go wrong by offering him or her an internship position with your company.