Hey Intern, Grab Me A Cup of Joe

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By Courtney Pendino

For many years the joke has been that interns can do your filing, run your errands and make a mean cup of joe. Well folks, I’m here now to tell you four reasons why hiring an intern—whether it’s an HVAC technician, marketing or accounting intern—can be a tremendous value to your company.

Employer Benefit 1: New & Fresh Ideas

An intern is either currently enrolled in college or recently graduated–they are full of fresh ideas that have just been discussed in their recent classes & studies. They can suggest new procedures or revamp current ones. A few years back, I started my first internship in an HR department. My first day I found out they printed every single website query (and never looked back at them again). The first question I asked was, “Why do we print all of these? Can’t they be saved electronically?” and the answer was, “Hmm, they probably could be, I just print them because that’s how we’ve always done it.” Do you know how much paper was saved since they implemented that process? The “that’s how we have always done it” mentality can be shaken up by hiring an intern!

Employer Benefit 2: Cost Effective

One employer benefit of hiring an intern is that they can save your company money. Interns traditionally have been unpaid* or paid a lower wage than someone who is employed full-time. Even by having an intern work 10 hours a week, that would free up your current employees to focus on their jobs or have an intern complete a project that has been “put on hold” which would have eventually been completed by an employee making 3-4x the amount of an intern.

Think of this scenario: you own an HVAC company and you have one office manager that handles invoices, accounts payable, customer service, etc. The summer hits and that office manager is slammed with work. He/She also wants to actually leave the office at a decent hour and maybe take a Friday 

off—hiring an intern to help their workload and eliminate the need for you to pay her overtime or hire through a temp agency is a great idea.

*Be sure to check with your state labor laws regarding criteria to be an “unpaid” internship before establishing one.

Employer Benefit 3: Easy Recruiting

By having an intern at your company, it allows you to see their work first hand. If a position becomes available which they are qualified for, you already know their work habits and capabilities. An important internship benefit for employers is the ability to “test them” before you commit to regular employment, eliminating some recruitment risks.

Plus, a candidate who already knows your company and has been doing the job will most likely be your best candidate. If you don’t have an open position, maybe someone in your network does. You would be able to refer qualified candidates to your peers.

Employer Benefit 4: We’ve all been there

And the last reason—we’ve all been there. We all started somewhere and we just needed someone to give us a chance. I bet you remember your first “real job” experience and the manager that gave you a chance. If there isn’t the opportunity for you to hire the intern at the end of the internship, it feels good to know that you provided them with meaningful work that will enhance their resume while they are job searching.

Now, having an intern is highly beneficial for employers (as stated above!), but they do require work. A successful internship experience will include a mentor at the company, relevant and meaningful work and being held accountable. I have personally mentored 5 interns and it was a challenging but rewarding experience. And on that note, I will go get myself a cup of joe.

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