Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on small businesses, internships and personal finance.

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Are Interns Right for Your Small Business?

Sarah Brooks

August 01, 2014

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Internships can be wonderful opportunities to both students and new grads.

They offer them a chance to learn hands-on skills and develop their knowledge before accepting a full-time position. While most are unpaid, there are some that offer minimum wage to help the intern pay for basic necessities - such as rent, utilities and food.

Internships can also be incredibly beneficial to small businesses, as well.

The number of students partaking in internships has been growing over recent years.

If there's a small business you want to work for, getting your degree and starting as an intern may be a great way to get your foot in the door.

According to the article "4 Benefits Of Getting Your Bachelor's Degree," benefits of getting your degree include higher lifetime earnings potential, less likely to be unemployed or face lower wages, develop a sense of personal achievement and attending school online as opposed to brick-and-mortar.

We know internships are beneficial to the student.

Here's how they're beneficial to the small business:


1. An intern can save you money - Interns are either free labor or very cheap labor. They're there to learn and help out when they can. If you don't need anyone for "general" help, consider hiring an intern for a specific project. Perhaps you need to get your social media pages up and running. A young intern fresh out of college would be perfect for the task.


2. You can test out interns before hiring them on full-time - Think of an internship as an extended interview. You get to see exactly how this person relates to your other employees, handles stressful situations and whether or not they go above and beyond to succeed. Hiring interns may lead you to some of the best full-time employees of your future.


3. You're making a name for your business - Offering internships will help get your business name out there and create interest among students and new grads. You may decide to partner up with a university in your area to attract qualified and interested interns.


There aren't too many disadvantages of providing internships.

Two main ones include:

1. It takes time - To hire and intern, you have to go through the same process as you would to hire a regular employee. There's interviewing, paperwork and possibly background checks. If you hire multiple interns per year, this amount of time can really add up.


2. There's a learning curve for the intern - Whether you hire the intern for general help or for a specific project, there's going to be a learning curve. You can't expect the intern to jump right in and take the load off of you and other employees. In fact, it can actually be the exact opposite. They'll need to be trained, which takes time away from current employees. Be prepared to give the intern the time it takes to get used to the job.


While internships aren't for every company, they can be extremely useful for some.

Weigh the pros and cons for your specific small business before making a decision. You can also try it out for a semester to see if you like it.

If you do, you can continue offering internships throughout the years.


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