Now is the Time to Think About Interns

January felt like it dragged on, whereas February is almost gone in the blink of an eye. This means spring is right around the corner. Why am I having thoughts of spring already? Because spring for recruiters means it is time to get ready to hire summer interns.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, NACE, “internships provide employers an opportunity to identify talent early. 94% of the respondents to the 2019 Recruiting Benchmark Survey said that it was very or extremely important to identify talent early through internships.” That is good news and brings up the age-old question of paid or unpaid internships.

Why Get an Intern?

If you are looking to hire an extra set of hands for a project, need entry-level staff, or want to identify potential new talent, paid internships are attractive to students who are looking to make connections in their chosen field before graduation. You will have the opportunity to see first hand the work habits, attitudes, and ethics of your interns as they work alongside your team.

What do the interns gain? Experience, connections, and an understanding of how your company works. Of course, not every internship will turn into a regular, full-time position, but if positioned correctly, internships can be a win-win for your company and student intern.

Paid vs. Non Paid Internships

Let’s face it: the reality is you get what you pay for. According to the Fair Standards Labor Act, interns working at a “for-profit” employer must be paid the federal minimum wage at the very least. Generally speaking, the internship should be for the benefit of the intern and not the employer. If the intern is doing work that you would normally need to pay someone to do, then you should pay the intern too.

If you are still considering using an unpaid intern, the FLSA developed a seven-question “primary beneficiary test” to determine if the unpaid position would be qualified as an intern or as an employee. You can download the information here.

By: Kimberly Kenner