Monday, October 19, 2009

Interns Are Employees, Not Volunteers

Hiring interns is just like hiring employees, because they are employees! You should only hire interns who have a strong enough foundation that they can contribute, because training from scratch is often too hard. Also, you must be willing and able to invest time and energy into transferring knowledge (aka mentoring) the intern. An good internship is learning and growing, and a good intern will expect to be exposed to things that will help them gain valuable experience.

    Good uses on interns:

  • You want a mini-me. Your intern will work on things you work on, both interesting and mundane.

  • Scoping out future recruits. It may be kind of obvious, but working with an intern is a great way to identify your future team members.

  • Practicing your teaching and management skills. Get your interns to help you create training materials and procedures.

  • Testing new concepts not critical to your company's core operations. Want to try a new marketing idea? Interns! Need a prototype for a wacky idea? Interns!

  • Bad uses for interns:

  • Giving them boring work that doesn't teach them anything.

  • Expecting them to be cheap labor that will follow you without question.

  • You feel like it'd be fun to hire interns and don't know why you're really hiring them.

  • Your office Burmese Python is hungry. Interns do not like being fed to reptiles.

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