Hiring Interns for Your Startup

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

Hiring interns allows your startup to leverage the skills of the tomorrow’s workforce. If managed effectively, an intern can help grow your business while keeping employment costs at a minimum. Concurrently, your business is giving back to the community by developing the future leaders of industry.

Provide a Different Perspective

Interns can add value to your business by bringing new perspectives. As they are still studying or have recently graduated, they are up-to-date with the latest information, innovation and technology in their chosen disciplines.

Interns have enthusiasm and are eager to apply their knowledge and ideas to practical situations. Ask interns to review your business’s processes, and have them suggest areas where they believe improvements could be made. For example, if you own a medium-sized accounting business, an intern could suggest that you introduce cloud accounting software to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Potential to Retain Talent Cheaply

Employing an intern could result in an entry-level hire that your startup can secure cheaply. Interns are more concerned about gaining commercial experience than earning a big salary, so your startup does not need a large payroll to accommodate them.

Reward interns by giving them more input in projects you are managing. This allows you to assess their work ethic, judgment and problem-solving abilities to determine if they have the potential for a permanent salaried position. For example, if you are a product seller, ask an intern to suggest alternative ways your products could be marketed.

Listening to interns’ opinions makes them feel valued and feel connected to your startup’s mission, which makes them easier to retain as full-time employees as your business grows.

Increase Your Startup’s Exposure and Reputation

Interns that have a good experience working for your startup act as brand ambassadors. They are likely to discuss their internship with other students, friends and family, which helps create awareness and publicity for your business. This may be particularly beneficial if you target customers are from the same demographic as the intern you hire. For example, if you own a fintech startup that targets college students, an intern is likely to discuss your products and business directly with your target market. You could even ask an intern to provide free samples of a product to their network, helping showcase your startup’s prowess for creativity and innovation.

Help to Complete Extra Work

Starting a small business requires a lot of work. Hiring an intern can be a cost-effective way to get additional help to complete projects. Interns are keen to get a broad perspective of how a business operates, so they are happy perform ad hoc tasks as long as they are learning new skills and gaining on-the-job experience. For example, if you own a small bookkeeping business, an intern could assist with basic data entry; this allows you to focus your attention on other areas of the business and gives the intern practical experience using commercial accounting software. As interns have little or no practical work experience, it is important that they are well-supervised and given guidance.

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