Internships can be an excellent, low-risk recruitment tool. Internships are specific work situations in which individuals work on a temporary basis for an employer to gain work experience in their chosen field.

About internships

Internships have traditionally been offered to younger workers—usually college students looking to gain experience before they graduate. However, they are increasingly being sought out by and offered to workers at all stages of their careers, in particular workers changing careers.

Key benefits

  • You get to know a prospective employee (the intern) and the intern gets to know you (their prospective future employer) in a low pressure, low-risk setting.
  • Interns are usually highly motivated individuals who take initiative. They're eager to gain experience in their field in order to move to the next stage in their career.
  • Interns bring a fresh perspective and new ideas into the work environment, so having them around can be motivating and stimulating to your current staff.
  • When managed properly, interns can be evangelists for your company and your brand, letting others know that your company or organization is a great place to work.

Tips for managing internships

  • Plan the internship carefully. Assigned tasks and supervision should be worked out ahead of time and clearly communicated.
  • The work must represent a real opportunity for learning and achievement—not “make work” projects or fetching coffee.
  • Orient or onboard interns much as you would regular employees. Make them feel welcome and give them the resources they need.
  • Obtain feedback from interns about the projects they complete. This benefits both your internship program and your company.
  • Stay in close touch with successful interns you’d like to invite back to your company through social media and other means.

What’s the law?

The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, has established rules for internships. Make sure to review these rules when establishing your internship program.

For help with internships and other workforce issues, contact your local American Job Center and connect with a Business Services Representative or other resource.

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