Why Hire Interns: How Young Talent Improves Your Company

by Ben Siegel

The “I can do it myself” mentality is ingrained in American culture, particularly when it comes to business. We glorify the idea of the self-made entrepreneur — the businessperson who builds their company on their own from the ground up. When it comes time to hire extra help, our first thoughts include, “Why hire interns when I could do this myself?”

Here are the facts: A team spread too thin is not an efficient team. Knowing when to delegate or bring on help are markers of a good company leader. And hiring interns can help you do both.

Do interns require training and management? Of course. Will you have to set aside time and resources to review resumes, schedule interviews, and vet top candidates? Perhaps — although Scholars is happy to help on that end.

But the effort you put into hiring interns now can pay dividends for your organization later. Below, we’re diving into why you should hire an intern, and how an established internship program can benefit your company in the long run.

Why Hire Interns? For One Thing, They Offer a Fresh Perspective 

You may have to spend a little time getting your interns up to speed on the office hierarchy or which channels to use over Slack, but these tactical things can be taught. Company best practices are part of any standard onboarding process — not just those for interns.

An intern can learn company policies and procedures for the first couple of weeks on the job. Plus, they bring something far more valuable to the table: innovation. College students are usually up to date on trends, social media tools, and how to attract a younger consumer base.

Each year, Kohl’s retail stores hire over 500 interns for its stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices across the United States. Their product development team looks to these students and recent graduates to bring new ideas to the table in developing new product lines.

When asked about the most valuable part of the internship program, Katherine Finder, Senior Vice President of Product Development, stated she benefited from “the infusion of new ideas and fresh perspectives from our intern group. As we work to attract a younger customer to Kohl’s they are a goldmine of ideas and innovation.”

An Internship Program Helps Build Your Talent Pipeline

Developing an internship program allows you to shape potential employees for full-time hires. As a scaling business, finding top talent is essential for company growth. Being able to mold, teach, and mentor interns today can make them an ideal junior-level employee year next year.

Even if you’re not looking to scale at the moment, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build your talent pipeline. As valuable and talented as your full-time employees are, turnover is part of doing business. Even at companies with high employee satisfaction and a positive work environment, you’ll have employees leave for new opportunities, retirement, or life events. When (not if) these times come, you’ll want to have a steady flow of talented candidates.

At the Web Development Group (WDG), a digital advertising agency, their internship program strategically looks for candidates who can move into full-time positions. WDG believes in autonomy and discourages micromanaging, allowing interns to handle their own projects.

For example, WDG’s design interns help maintain internal branding and self-promotion, spearhead pro bono or nonprofit initiatives, and shadow departments when meeting with clients. With this valuable experience, these interns are prepared to perform client-facing projects after graduation.

Interns Provide an Extra Set of Hands 

No matter how industrious you are, you can accomplish more with a group than on all by yourself. Having a team of interns allows your organization to get extra help and, in all likelihood, at a much lower rate than your full-time employees.

The idea that interns are only good for busy work is an outdated notion. Tech-savvy, experience-hungry interns offer new skills, a strong work ethic, and fresh ideas to help move your team forward.

At Xymox, a digital printing company, interns play an integral role in the design, testing, and programming of a number of mechanical projects. As Drew, a former intern has noted, “I was not given busy work to just give me something to do…my initial role was to design a method to test various touch characteristics of varying sensors.” Drew went on to work on other projects ranging from designing testing fixtures to programming a machine on the manufacturing floor.

Interns Are Hungry for Work Experience 

Young professionals are eager to gain valuable learning experiences — and their ambition can benefit your company as a whole. Whether you run a small business or a large corporation, having a team of motivated interns can lessen the workload and quicken the pace of multiple departments.

Let’s use Freshbooks, the cloud accounting software company, as an example. In 2018, they offered an internship opportunity to their youngest candidate to date: a 16-year-old high school student named Alec, who cold-emailed their human resources department. Alec’s email was clear, concise, engaging, and free from errors. In fact, their recruitment team noted that his letter was better written than those from some seasoned professionals.

When Alec came in for an interview, he impressed (and stunned) the Freshbooks team with a 30-minute demo. Afterward, he stayed for two hours asking questions of other team members. This level of humility, eagerness, and sheer excitement is what the younger generation can bring to your team.

An Internship Experience Is a Positive Force for Your Company

Creating an internship program doesn’t just impact the interns themselves. Yes, it provides them valuable, real-world work experience, and mentorship. But creating a positive, sustainable internship program benefits your entire organization — not just the college students you hire.

As written by Tiffany, a former sales and marketing intern for the marketing agency Setup, “when accepting the internship offer, the interns agreed to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

Having a team of interns provides networking, managerial, and mentoring opportunities for the rest of your staff. Managing a team of interns may be a junior employee’s first glimpse into management, which also benefits your company in the long run.

Interns help lift the burden off the rest of your team, offer new perspectives, and provide a pool of talent to scale your organization. If all these things fall into place, how could having an internship program not benefit your company?

Hiring Interns Is an Asset to Your Company

Why hire interns? Interns can benefit the morale, efficiency, and innovation of your company. By providing fresh ideas, relentless energy, and added help, they can ease the workload of current employees, help launch new product lines, and play a role in scaling your company.

We understand that learning how to hire interns requires time and valuable resources.

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