Passing It On: Hiring Your First Intern


Think back to ten, 20 years ago. What stage of your career were you in? Was there a moment when you realised that “yes, this is what I want to do”? Was there a particular person who guided and helped you? Well if so, then maybe it’s time to pay it forwards. Open your business to an intern and see how you can shape the next great mind of the future.

We recently wrote about how to take the next step up in your career. For someone, you might be that helping hand from above.

So, here’s a few things to consider before hiring your first intern.

Finding an intern

Regardless of your industry, there are always young people looking for an internship. Your options are wide open when it comes to finding one: you could try advertising through your local universities or colleges. You could go through a recruiter, or post a job spec online yourself. Or you could look at charities and schemes working with people to get them into the career they want. This blog post has some useful information about what to look for in an applicant to know whether they’ll be the right match for your company.

Sorting out the finer details

There’s quite a bit of admin to do when you take on an intern. Depending on where in the world you are, different rules will apply when it comes to payment. So, it’s worth having a chat with experts to help you out with the legal side of things. If you’re thinking about offering an unpaid internship – if it’s legal in your country or state – decide why you can’t spare a bit of money, even if it’s just a gesture. Something is better than nothing, even if it’s just to cover travel fees.

Settling your intern in

Now, this will all depend on how much experience your intern has. Some might have already had previous business experience, while others might never have been in an office before. If you have a fairly large office, giving out name badges and creating a map of where people sit is a lovely way to welcome someone. They’ll feel far more confident to approach people if they know names! Likewise, give them their own space and desk if possible, and remember to say whether they need to bring a laptop with them or not.

Make a plan of work before they arrive

Even though you have a million and one things to do, find time to make a mini career development plan before your intern arrives. Depending on how long they’re with you for, make a day-by-day, week-by-week or month-by-month plan outlining what skills they should learn, and how to prove this. Here are some good ideas to help start you off. You should sit down together to talk through what your intern would like to say they’ve achieved by the end of it. No doubt they’ll have some quite specific criteria to match if they’re applying for full time jobs!



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