Internships are an excellent way of recruiting qualified workers and at the same time getting some extra hands on your projects. However, internships are a “give and take” relationship. As a startup you need to be aware of this relationship and a bunch of other things before you hire interns.
In this post, we tell you all about hiring interns from our own experiences as a startup with 3-4 interns every semester.
Internships are a “give and take” relationship
Internships are a “give and take” relationship because the commitment goes both ways: An intern works for your startup, but you have to teach the intern the necessary skills and give him or her an individual learning plan in return. Remember, the intern is working for you because he or she wants to learn and get experience in his or her field of expertise.
Pros and cons of hiring interns
What are the pros and cons of hiring interns as a start-up? Luckily, there are mostly ‘pros’, but you need to be aware of one con: Interns are time consuming in the beginning of their internship. You need to take the time to teach them a new set of skills and integrate them into the workplace (e.g. teambuilding exercises).
When the introduction period is over, the ‘pros’ of internships become visible. At this point, the intern starts to contribute to your company by working on real projects.
Obviously, it is a ‘pro’ when the intern starts contributing to your production, but we need to look at the real endgame here: You may have a qualified (student) employee on your hands when the internship ends. This is your chance to recruit talent to your workforce. At Morning Train, five of our employees are previous interns. After their internships ended, they were “plug and play” employees because they had learned the required skills and they knew the workplace. Win-win, right?
What you need to ask yourself when hiring interns
When hiring interns as a startup, you need to ask yourself three questions:
- What do you wish to accomplish with an intern?
- What type of learning plan will both you and the intern benefit from?
- What are the prospects after the internship has ended?
If you do not answer these questions, you end up in a “blind leading the blind” situation where no one knows anything. That is not beneficial for you or the intern.
How to find the most qualified interns
When hiring interns, you want to find the most qualified ones. How do you do that? There are two steps. One: Be visible. Two: Screen applicants.
In order to attract interns, you need to be visible: Post internships in job banks (e.g. SDU and EAL), invite lecturers and their students to visit you and learn more about your startup, and use your network.
When you receive applications, you screen the applicants. We screen our interns by giving them a challenge within their area of expertise. This is a great way for you to learn the skill level of the applicant – and maybe even learn something new yourself.
Join us at Startup Odense Friday Bar on October 28 and ask us all your questions about interns. Cheers!Author
Karsten Madsen – Co-founder and CEO, Morning Train.
What do you like about Odense?
What I like about Odense is the possibility to make a significant difference in a city in great progress. In addition, Odense is a “cosy” city with growing internationalization, which I find very exciting.
What is your best entrepreneurial advice?
It takes time to create a success. Sometimes it seems like the outside world is just waiting for you to give up. That is why stubbornness is a necessity when being a startup.