6 Things You MUST KNOW When Hiring UnPaid Interns
How to Hire an Intern
An internship is a great opportunity for students to learn about your industry and for you to raise awareness of your business with potential employees. When structured properly, both the intern and your company will win. However, you need to properly plan for your internship. Typically, you also must pay interns if you are a for-profit business. If you want to set up an unpaid internship, then you’ll need to structure the internship in a certain way so that you don’t violate federal labor laws.
Setting Up Your Internship Program
Decide when you’ll need the intern.It takes weeks and possibly months to review resumes, interview, and hire interns. Identify when you’ll need the intern to work and plan accordingly.
- If you are planning on hiring current college students to intern, then you should be aware of summer vacation schedules. You may want to time your internship to the summer vacation. You can certainly have a student intern during the school year, though you may get fewer applicants.
- Also look at your business needs. There may be a particular time of the year when you need extra help.
Check about legal requirements.Before hiring anyone, you should understand your legal obligations regarding the intern. In some states, you need to include the intern on your workers’ compensation insurance.
- You may also need to pay benefits, depending on your company’s policies and your state and local laws.
- If you are a for-profit company and want to create an unpaid internship, you should also get some legal advice before setting up the program.
Write a job description.You need to post a job description which contains a list of duties. This is a great exercise because it will make you think about exactly what you need your intern to do. Ask the person who will immediately supervise the intern to help out on the job description.
- Remember to include a rate of pay. Currently, interns earn about an hour for internships at the bachelor’s degree level. If you can’t afford to pay, you can develop an unpaid internship, but you must follow specific steps.
- Think carefully about the hours the intern will work. If they work less than 30 hours a week, you can classify them as part-time employees.
Identify selection criteria.As you draft your job description, also think about what credentials or skills you want your interns to have. For example, consider the following:
- Particular academic major. For example, an accounting firm might want a student majoring in accounting.
- Academic performance. Think about whether you want an academic all-star at the top of their class, or if you are fine with any level of performance.
- Demonstrated writing ability. If your internship is writing intensive, you might want to see a writing sample. For example, a newspaper might ask interns for sample clips.
- Demonstrated math skills. You could possibly give a math test or require that an intern have taken specific math courses.
- Computer skills. Many jobs are web-based and require students to navigate the Internet, email, etc.
- Specialized skills. For example, if your company does business internationally, you might want an intern who can speak a foreign language.
Analyze how your program will benefit the intern.Interns are not regular employees, and you shouldn’t view them as cheap labor. Spend some time thinking about how your intern will benefit educationally from the internship.
- In particular, internships are opportunities for students to learn. Identify who will mentor the student and what form that mentoring will take.
- You may want to talk to other businesses about their programs. Find out how other businesses structure their internship programs. They may have literature on the internship you can read.Also ask any questions you might have.
Develop projects for the intern.Make projects specific. However, look for projects an intern can handle from beginning to end. Don’t dump an intern on a huge project where they’ll start somewhere in the middle and leave before it is completed. You want the intern to gain a sense of accomplishment by completing entire projects, so pick things that are small.
- Avoid giving an intern only busy work, such as filing or typing up basic documents. This type of work doesn’t help the intern, and you can’t properly assess the intern’s capabilities to perform other tasks.
- Ideally, your paid interns will work as members of a team. If there are multiple teams, you should think about rotating them so they can see how each team connects with the larger organization.
Select a supervisor carefully.Interns know very little about your industry and even less about the niceties of the modern workplace. Accordingly, the supervisor may have to spend a lot of time coaching the intern and teaching them basic skills like how to write a professional email.Choose a direct supervisor with care.
- Some companies like hiring interns because it gives junior employees a chance to act as managers. However, you should think carefully before assigning this task to a relatively inexperienced employee.
- The direct supervisor does not need to be the mentor. In fact, it might be easier to split the roles.
- Talk with any supervisor before assigning them an intern. Ask if they are willing to serve.
Advertise the internship.Send the job description to nearby universities. Look online to find the contact information for their career centers. You may have to go through a registration process.Call ahead of time and ask.
Creating an Unpaid Internship as a For-Profit Business
Make the internship for the intern’s benefit.The purpose of the internship should be for the intern to learn about your business. If the primary benefit is that your company gets an extra set of hands for a month, then think about paying the intern—or hiring part-time staff.
- Your benefit as a company should be incidental.
- Try to identify why you are agreeing to an unpaid internship as a for-profit business. For example, you may be doing a favor to an employee by giving their child the internship. Or you may consider it a professional obligation to help train the next generation in your field.
Provide enough training.The training you offer must be similar to the training someone would receive in an educational environment. In particular, it will be helpful if a university or college oversees the internship and the student earns educational credit.
- Focus on teaching the intern skills they can be used in a variety of workplaces—not simply your own.
- For example, ABC Company wants to hire an intern for its marketing department. ABC should teach Jane the basics of effective marketing instead of having her work on a current marketing campaign ABC is doing for a client.
Avoid using the intern as an employee.You can’t hire an unpaid intern when what you really need to do is hire staff. Your intern should not replace or augment your current staff. Instead, the intern must work closely under their supervision.
- For example, Smith Accountants wants to hire someone to help during tax season, when things get crazy around the office. Smith Accountants should hire a part-time employee, not an unpaid intern.
- If Smith Accounting hires an unpaid intern, they should expect the intern to mostly job shadow an employee. In fact, unpaid interns should not do any task that contributes to the company’s operations, such as answering the phone, responding to emails, or documenting inventory.
Avoid obtaining any advantage.A key test is whether you benefit from the internship. In order to offer an unpaid internship, you must not gain any financial advantage. In fact, your business operations should probably be interrupted on occasion.
- For example, ABC marketing hires Jane as an intern. She mostly job shadows the staff but also completes individual projects for her own educational benefit. ABC Marketing doesn’t use her projects for clients. This is a valid unpaid internship.
- ABC Marketing may also have to dial back some of the business they take on because of the time spent training Jane. This is perfectly normal when you have an unpaid intern.
Tell the intern you are not paying wages.Finally, you can’t trick an intern into thinking they’ll be paid. Instead, make it crystal clear that they are not entitled to any wages for their experience in the internship.
- The intern shouldn’t feel that the internship is an unpaid “trial period” where you get to feel out the student before making a full time offer.
- The internship should also be for a set period of time. The longer an internship lasts, the more the relationship looks like an employment relationship.
Pay at least minimum wage if you don’t meet the test.You must satisfy each of the factors in this section for an unpaid intern not to qualify as an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.If you can’t meet all of them, pay the intern at least the prevailing minimum wage.
- The law on unpaid internships is also changing. Some courts have adopted their own tests, which are not identical to the factors discussed in this section.Consult with an attorney if you are considering hiring an unpaid intern.
Designate an Internship Coordinator.Someone should review applications and work with the university’s career center (if you are partnering with a university). This can be a time-consuming job, so don’t drop it on the lap of someone who is already overburdened.
- If you’re hiring an unpaid intern, then create a unique intern screening process. The way you assess and hire applicants should not be identical to how you hire regular employees. If they are the same, then it looks like you are hiring an employee and not an intern.
- For example, you shouldn’t give any weight to analyzing how long an employee is likely to stay with you, since internships are short-term.
- You also shouldn’t fly the intern in to visit you if you pay regular employees to do that.
Follow antidiscrimination laws.Hiring decisions are covered by state, federal, and some local antidiscrimination laws. You should still follow them in your hiring process.Meet with a lawyer who can explain antidiscrimination law to you. Generally, the laws will limit you in the following ways:
- You can’t make a hiring decisions based on stereotypes involving a person’s disability, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, or age.
- You can’t employ any test to weed out applicants that may have a disparate impact on protected groups. For example, don’t ask applicants whether they can lift 50 pounds unless that is a necessary, job-related requirement.
Conduct interviews.You can interview possible interns in the same way you interview potential employees—ask about strengths, weaknesses, why they want to intern with you, etc. However, you may also want to get creative.
- For example, you can ask oddball questions, such as what’s the last clean joke they have heard or which state they would eject from the Union. It’s important to focus more on the applicant’s response to the question than the answer.
- For example, does the intern relish the challenge? Laugh? Try to answer in good faith? These responses show that the intern is flexible.
- If you partner with a college or university, you should ask whether you can interview candidates on campus.This might be convenient. Students will find it easy to get to the interview and they may feel more comfortable interviewing in familiar surroundings.
Extend an offer.Call up the candidate you select and make an offer. You should also write an intern offer letter. There are sample letters online you can use as a model when drafting your own.
- Your offer letter should identify that the job is short-term. Also explain whether the intern will qualify for company benefits.
- You probably also must notify the student’s school if the intern is getting college credit.
Have the intern fill out required paperwork.If you’re paying the intern, you need to add them to your payroll.Have the student complete a W4 form and any other payroll form. Ideally, they should complete this paperwork on their first day.
- It’s easiest to classify interns as regular employees. They rarely qualify as independent contractors.
- You may need interns, including unpaid interns, to fill out other forms. Check with Human Resources.
Video: The Best Ways to Find Interns : Interns Recruitment,Find Interns for Free II HR Recruiting Tips
Olivia Wilde Just Wore the Braid of YourDreams
The Best Hand Creams
Best Cooking Oil Options
How to Juice Wheatgrass
How to Keep Your Vagina Cleaner
How to Make Decorative Candles
Too Busy For TV How To Blag Your Way Through TV’s 5 Most-Watched
Ham and Lentil Stew
This Is the Right Way to Schedule Sex
Greens Eggs Ham Recipe