Interns are a robust source of talent for companies across every industry. If your company is eager to tap into this talent pool, you may be wondering how to hire an intern.
Like any recruiting decision, hiring the right intern can be challenging, and is practically guaranteed to have important impacts on your team. Building an effective internship program can have long lasting impacts for students and the companies they join.
For students, internships present the opportunity to gain early career experience and to explore different job options in their field. For businesses, they create a new way to fill essential roles with eager, dedicated talent. The unique benefits an intern can offer include:
- Becoming a pipeline for entry-level talent
- Contributing a fresh, diverse perspective to key roles
- Utilizing cutting-edge knowledge to tackle projects
Finding the ideal intern for hire to meet your organization’s needs is easier than ever as the recruitment market becomes increasingly globalized. Why limit your search to internship candidates from the local college or university? Now, it’s just as easy to source internship candidates from around the world.
However, we know that all staffing choices can present a unique challenge. Every hire needs to represent the right blend of knowledge, skills, and experience while still being a good fit for your company culture. Though it can be a hurdle, finding the right person to join your team in any role is an important decision. As leaders in the international internship space, our team at Intrax Global Internships understands how to navigate these challenges to find the right candidate.
We’re dedicated to helping our clients find interns that can fill essential roles, tackle relevant projects, and contribute to the teams they join in meaningful ways. In this guide, we’ll break down how to find, hire, and retain interns who can round out your company.
How Interns Can Impact Your Business
Internship programs are primarily thought of as a way for students to gain experiences. The benefits internships provide young professionals are clear:
- Getting work experience in their field
- Networking with industry professionals
- Gaining essential knowledge for their future career
But these programs don’t only yield benefits for the students that take internship positions. In industries from technology to finance and beyond, internships can help your business thrive. Interns can take on much more responsibility than simply filing papers or manning the coffee maker. They can fill high impact roles while giving your company the chance to evaluate your field’s rising talent.
In many ways, an internship is like a test drive for both the student and the company. While the intern gains valuable experience, the company gains a preview of their potential as a future hire. You may decide that your intern is the perfect fit for a permanent role with your team. Their internship can become a great way to train them for it. These programs allow you to vet fresh talent before making a costly and time consuming commitment to a new hire.
Internships can also be a cornerstone of a company’s culture. The reputation of a brand can receive a notable boost by demonstrating a commitment to mentoring the rising generation in your industry. When a company shows a willingness to train and guide interns, it sends a clear message to both their clients and team resources that they are dedicated to the people that help them excel.
With their training and education still fresh, interns can bring an innovative perspective to the companies they join. They can also create an opportunity to welcome more diverse viewpoints to your business. International interns in particular can help a company meet their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) goals. Adding an intern with a different background from their teammates allows you to access the unique knowledge, experiences, and insights they offer. Each hire can become part of the collective process of building a diverse team.
Between recruiting quality candidates and navigating the process of obtaining a visa, bringing global interns on board may seem like an intimidating hurdle. Intrax Global Internships has decades of experience in helping our customers find the right international intern to build their teams.
Interns In Action: What They Do
Our clients are constantly experiencing the advantages interns can bring to the teams they join. One of our clients, the fintech company Robinhood, relies on interns to power their Global Mobility program. With a steady source of innovative thinking and dedicated talent coming from their global interns, Robinhood’s Global Mobility program will grow by 100% in the next fiscal year.
Recruiting international interns is also helping Robinhood ensure that their teams are representative of our diverse world. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are among Robinhood’s top hiring priorities, and they rely on global internship programs to fill their talent pool.
Our client Omnium shares Robinhood’s commitment to prioritizing diversity in their intern hiring practices. That’s part of the reason they bring interns from around the world to join their company. Interns at Omnium fill critical positions related to technology and data science, giving them the chance to have tangible impacts on the clients they work with.
Define What the Intern’s Role Will Be
The first essential step in finding a quality intern is to understand and define what, exactly, their role will be. Clarity is an important part of recruiting for any position, and can be particularly important for interns who are juggling other demands like classes alongside an internship.
Start by thinking about what you want the intern’s role to entail. Be sure to answer questions like:
- What will the intern’s daily responsibilities include?
- What will their weekly schedule look like?
- Is this role full time or part time?
- Is the role open to remote or hybrid work?
- When does the position start?
- How long will the position last?
Be sure you know the specifics of what the intern will be doing so you can focus on attracting candidates with the right skill set. Mentoring and teaching an emerging professional is one of the goals of an internship, but it is important that they start with the right set of qualifications to maximize the growth your team can guide them through.
While traditional hires typically seek out full time, long term work, interns are more flexible. They may accept or even prefer part time, short term roles. Be clear about these pieces of information up front. Starting with a well defined position can spare you from situations where an intern needs to leave their role earlier than anticipated.
When sourcing global talent for an internship, it’s critical to define details like a start and end date. International candidates will typically need to secure a visa before beginning an internship, which can take weeks to process. These visas generally have specified maximum durations. Your global candidates will need to ensure that their visa and internship durations align.
Determine Your Intern’s Compensation
You may be wondering how to hire an unpaid intern or a paid intern, and what the differences are between these two situations. Compensation is always one of the first questions companies have when it comes to creating an internship program. Should intern candidates be paid, and if so, how much? There are pros and cons to the different compensation options for internships.
A company’s ability to provide internship opportunities is valuable, even when they are unpaid. Especially for growing companies, unpaid internships may make it more feasible to work with interns. This can be particularly true if you are considering bringing on multiple interns at once.
In hiring an unpaid intern, there are some stringent legal protections in place under the Fair Labor Standards Act. When you hire an intern for free, the intern must clearly understand and agree that there is no expectation of compensation for their work. Generally, the program must also benefit the intern more than it benefits the company, such as by helping them further their education.
While unpaid internships can be a useful way for companies to establish internship programs, they also present some issues. Namely, they limit your candidate pool when seeking an intern, particularly in areas relevant to DE&I initiatives. Uncompensated internships only attract students without financial responsibilities that mean they need to spend their time working at a paid job. Think about it this way: Could you afford to work for free for 20-40 hours per week? Many interns can’t, either.
Additionally, interns may be more likely to work hard if you are compensating them for their labor. Offering compensation for an internship makes the position more competitive and attractive to high achieving candidates. That’s why top tech companies often pay their interns higher salaries than the average American makes: it guarantees they will have their pick from the best-in-class interns in their field.
Paid internships are also more likely to attract international interns. Global interns often need to find paid internship positions to afford accommodations while living in the United States on a visa. If your company’s hiring goals are centered around improving your DE&I, offering paid internship positions can serve as a way to achieve this.
So, should you pay your interns? There are pros and cons on both sides. The important thing is to decide and define your internship program’s compensation structure in advance. That way, you can be sure to attract candidates that will be well-suited for the position they’re applying for.
Create a Recruitment Strategy
Once your internship position is clearly defined, the next step is to decide how to find candidates to fill it. Recruiting interns is like recruiting for any other role: the goal is to find candidates who bring the right mix of skill and knowledge to the table while also fitting in with your company’s culture.
There are many components to an effective recruitment strategy. Some recruiting best practices include:
- Emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
- Clearly communicating requirements and expectations
- Expanding your talent pool to include international candidates
The details of your recruitment strategies will depend on your company’s values and goals. Your strategy may also change with each position you seek to fill. While the details of your recruitment strategy might change, the importance of this strategy does not.
Deciding on a strategy up front can help you find the right intern for your team. You might choose to expand your social media presence, take employee referrals for open positions, or attend networking events to connect with emerging talent. No matter which recruitment efforts you choose, defining an intentional intern hiring process can make it easier to find candidates. This is especially true when seeking out international interns to add to your team.
Attract Top-Tier Interns
Once you’ve decided on a recruitment strategy and begun implementing it, the next task in hiring an intern is to attract candidates who are at the top of their class. A carefully-crafted recruitment strategy can help you achieve this, and the structure of your internship program itself can as well.
Think about how to differentiate your internship program from other opportunities your candidates might have. What would attract them to join your team over another? You might consider offering different benefits that would make your internship program the most appealing choice, such as:
- A structured mentorship program
- Competitive compensation
- Visa sponsorship for global interns
- Intern-to-career pathways for promising candidates
The current job market doesn’t only influence regular employees. Its trends extend to hiring an intern for your business as well. In today’s global hiring market, companies are often competing for high quality candidates as much as the candidates have competed for positions in the past. Take efforts to differentiate yourself from the competition to attract the best interns in your industry to your team.
To attract best in class interns to your open positions, think global for your hiring initiatives. Functionally every industry and sector has been revolutionized by collaborative technology, making it easier than ever to find and recruit quality talent from around the world. Hiring global interns can allow you to widen your talent pool while capitalizing on the broad range of skill and talent found across the globe.
Connect With Intern Candidates to Your Brand
In our interconnected business landscape, an essential way to differentiate your company is by connecting directly to intern candidates. By clearly establishing and promoting your company’s brand and culture, you can attract potential hires to your team.
This is an exceptionally effective strategy for hiring global interns. Fostering brand awareness can make interns eager to become part of your company. Having a strong social media presence can be a powerful tool to achieve this goal. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can bolster your voice, allowing you to establish your foothold as a thought leader in your industry.
By engaging in constructive discussions, you create a space for innovative ideas to be spread. You also demonstrate the value you place on those ideas and your commitment to forward thinking methods. This doesn’t just make joining your company more appealing to prospective interns in the present. It also gives you a way to directly connect with top talent around the world for future positions.
When international talent has buy-in to your culture and message, it can serve to direct talent to your team. Engaging with your industry’s rising professionals is an essential part of creating a global talent acquisition funnel that will make finding top candidates a seamless process in the long run.
Create an Onboarding Plan
Finding a quality intern to hire is hard work. Be sure to take the necessary steps to retain talent once you’ve found and recruited it. Like any professional, intern hires need some training and guidance to start a new position. Onboarding practices can be a particularly impactful component of your program when considering how to hire a college intern.
Remember, interns are at the beginning of their career. Setting them up for success with a strong onboarding program can have lasting benefits for an intern. When creating your internship program, be sure to define what this process will entail for them. Think about who will be responsible for elements like:
- Training the intern on essential tasks
- Answering questions that arise during the internship
- Overseeing the intern’s daily performance
- Assigning the intern tasks to complete
Once these procedures are established, make sure your interns are aware of them, too. This clarity and attention to detail will help you welcome each intern to your company and ensure their tenure will be a resounding success. After all, a successful internship can be an opportunity for you to train and get to know a promising future employee.
Clearly defined onboarding procedures are especially essential for your global hires. With cultural differences to navigate and even language barriers to overcome, a clear process for familiarizing your interns with their new roles can have lasting impacts on helping them settle in.
Funnel Talent to Your Team With a Thriving Internship Program
Starting an international internship program can be a long-term hiring solution to funnel global talent directly to your team. These dedicated early career professionals can bring cutting edge knowledge and diverse perspectives to your company while filling essential roles.
If you’ve considering starting an internship program, you may have wondered how to hire an intern for a small business. You may also be asking questions like “Can I hire an intern for a specific role?” or “How do I hire an intern from out of the United States?” Our team at Intrax Global Internships leverages decades of experience in the global internship space to guide your team through creating a custom internship solution.
Our customers’ interns fill essential roles in their companies by contributing to their growth, projects, and client satisfaction in meaningful ways. The value-add potential of interns is boundless. We’d love to help you add these dynamic rising professionals to your team. Contact us any time to learn more about how to hire an intern, and how bringing global interns on board can change your company.
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