Three Reasons to Start Hiring Interns

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Intern at WorkIt's becoming tougher to fill open positions with qualified candidates. That's why now is a great time for small and niche businesses to consider seeking out intern candidates as a recruiting source. In almost every field, students are scrambling to find open internship positions each spring, summer and fall. In fact, internships are so in-demand that some headhunters charge students thousands of dollars to find unpaid internships for them. That's because many students feel potential employers won't even consider them for a job without professional experience on their résumé. Research shows their fears might be right.

According to Michigan State's Collegiate Employment Research Institute, up to 75% of college students have an internship or some other professional work experience before they graduate. That makes the environment ripe for businesses to offer internships of their own. So what's in it for your company? Check out these three top reasons to consider hiring interns.

1. Find new team members.
One of the biggest benefits of offering internships is the ability to find job candidates for positions you want to fill or create. Interns, whether still in school or recent graduates, easily transition into full-time work with a company because they are already familiar with the business, its culture and the expectations. They are often ready to hit the ground running, since their internship serves as a training period.

2. Reduce turnover.
Most companies do not offer any promise of permanent placement to their intern candidates. But students know that if they prove themselves valuable to the team, an offer for a full-time job may come. This gives interns a strong incentive to work hard and prove their worth. Also, an internship can serve as an evaluation period for the student to try out the company, which means that if they do accept a job with the company, chances are, they'll stick around for a long time.

3. Cut costs.
You can choose to pay interns if you're in a competitive field, but often, students will take unpaid positions. If interns are paid, it's usually a monthly or term stipend. In addition, internships are not affiliated with the heavy turnover costs of full-time employment – typically between 30-150% of an employee's yearly wages. Plus, interns don't typically receive benefits, which add to employment costs associated with full-time employees.

Sounds like a dream solution to your recruiting and retention problems, right? It can be, for a business with great managers. But, before you look for interns, keep in mind that most interns don't work a 40-hour work week, and not all of them will be looking for full-time employment when they are finished at your company. Intern candidates rarely have extensive work experience, and you must commit time and resources to developing them. Otherwise, you could be in over your head trying to mold a green candidate into a productive member of the team. That's why you should invest in creating an internship program before adding interns to your staff. Check out next month's article in e-Xchange to learn how.

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