Finding Freshmen: The Importance of Hiring Interns Sensibly

Interns can be incredibly useful in a wide variety of companies, whether they’re part time or full time, short term or long term, students or graduates. But, despite their many uses, interns are often incorrectly valued for one reason above all else; they’re free.

It was reported that, in 2016, roughly half of the US’s 1.5 million internships offered no pay, claiming compensation for the role was “experience and connections”. Due to the countless young out there trying to get their foot in the door, many are still jumping at these supposed opportunities, but it does beckon a question to be asked; are interns being hired correctly and sensibly, or are companies using the intern title to simply get free work out of graduates and entry-level candidates?

Savings over Sensibility

The desire to hire in a cost-effective manner is one shared by countless employers, and rightly so. The cost for turnover, even in minimum wage roles, is staggering, but the fact that interns don’t need to be paid shouldn’t be their prime selling point. While many employers choose to hire interns because – in blunt terms – it’s free labor, this can backfire as often as it can yield positive results.

Interns, though often coming without the burden of a paycheque, are still going to be a part of your working environment, and so they also require adequate training and integration into your workforce in the same manner as any other employee. Without this level of focus on intern development, interns can end up being as much of a costly burden as they can a hassle through no fault of their own by making mistakes, the need to have their work redone, delaying other staff members, and interrupting your full-time work team.

Intern Investment

For an intern to be utilized and become a productive part of your workforce, it’s imperative to ensure they receive the proper guidance and training. A successful intern not only needs to be briefed and trained to the same extent as a regular worker to ensure they are a productive addition to the team instead of a hassle, but it’s also vital to ensure that they are a good fit for your company in the first place.

Pre-screening interns with pre-employment assessments is far more important than many seem to realize. By using pre-hire tests on even short-term, part-time interns, you can determine who is or isn’t a good fit for your team in a certain internship. This extra step can help greatly in eliminating the risk of hiring an intern who is more like to be a burden than a blessing.

Overall, nobody wants a spanner to be thrown in the works of their company, and these spanners can (and often do) come in the form of inadequately prepared interns. Avoiding this is simple and easy; make sure you’re taking on the right interns for the right reasons, not just for the sake of trying to save a little cash while getting a few undesirable tasks done. If that means investing a little time in pre-employment testing, training, and perhaps even a little pay as an incentive to do a higher quality of work, then why not? Your interns will be grateful for it, your workforce will continue to flow and remain undisturbed, and the amount of time (and, by extension, money) you will save through lack of disruptions and poor work quality will, without a doubt, help you sleep easier at night.