Hiring interns assists corporations in accomplishing workplace tasks while simultaneously enhancing the educational experience of young adults and new workforce participants. Similar to apprenticeship, interning also affords future industry professionals and employers a chance to develop mutual interests. Although interning only dates back to the 1980s, it has become common within a number of economic sectors. However, there are some disadvantages to hiring interns. If these negative factors are duly considered, then it is more likely to optimize a business internship program.
Interns are often students looking for experience. This increases the chance interns will be enthusiastic, optimistic and willing to learn a trade while assisting businesses achieve tactical objectives in daily operations. Moreover, if interns are well selected and not just chosen for their drive to succeed, then businesses have an opportunity to mold potential employees who are able to become productive assets on a corporate team.
Internships are also a way for companies to get in touch with the community and build relationships. By reaching out to educational institutions, businesses are in effect making an advantageous connection to a large pool of possible entry level employment applicants. Furthermore, with the help of school career advisors or placement officers, employers have the assistance of proxy head hunters to help the process along.
It is well known that internships are a cost effective way to achieve business objectives provided an intern’s assigned tasks are focused on building a specific set of experiential skills to compliment their education. Many times, interns are a free or inexpensive alternative to hiring temporary workers. Moreover, temp employees may be less suited for specific job responsibilities than interns who are capable of performing the same work. Just be careful when offering unpaid internships to follow the Department of Labor's criteria.
Interns are still protected by laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means a corporate entity is responsible for maintaining a safe working environment. This law also requires compliance with overtime rules that could afford interns payment under certain work parameters. For example, when the conditions permit and in some U.S. states, interns have been awarded workers compensation via case rulings.
Depending on the particular tasks an intern learns during his or her time at an organization, training or acclimation to the work environment and duties is typically needed. If the intern is not to be hired following completion of the internship, the experience and knowledge learned will be of little or no future benefit to the company. Also, not having the intern sign a non-compete agreement adds to the potential disadvantage.
Even though new interns typically costs less than new employees, the process becomes expensive if internships do not work out. For instance, a misplaced intern uses resources in the recruitment process that could be spent on better calculated endeavors such as project management research, part-time employee screening and development of operational efficiencies within a human resources department.
Careful consideration of the pros and cons of hiring interns helps avoid any negative consequences that may arise. Good design of internship programs ensure that the process is as seamless and cost effective as possible. This involves accessing the right group of students and forging a pro-active hiring campaign. Moreover, if the intern program is carried out correctly, then the benefits are more likely to outweigh any costs associated with hiring new interns.