4 Tips for Hiring Summer Interns (Legally)

Cheap labor can be a huge boon for both startups and established companies. Hiring interns at a discounted salary is definitely a compelling idea – but what is the payoff if your interns are unmotivated and resentful of their low rank on the totem pole? Many businesses do an awful job of hiring and managing interns so the process ends up becoming a waste of time and money rather than a money-saving operation. Here are some tips for hiring summer interns that can help you avoid these pitfalls.

  1. Add a Value Proposition

The best summer interns are out there wondering “What’s in it for me?” As much as you’d love them to be interested in full-time data entry, chances are they would probably like to learn something new and take away some tangible skills from their time with you. Make the job description highlight the cool stuff the intern will be doing, in addition to being honest about the usual tedious tasks of an internship.

  1. Keep the Pipeline Open

If you want to hire the most talented students, you’ll definitely want a wide, consistent pipeline to make sure that you have enough qualified applicants. This can take some time, but it’s worth it. Make sure that your company has a presence in all the right places, including job boards, social media, career fairs and university departments. Having a lasting presence in these pipelines will bring great summer interns to your door. Also consider posting openings on the following sites:

Internships.comExperience.comIndeed Idealist.orgMediabistro.comInternJobsCollegeRecruiter.comInternMatchYouTern, College.monster.com, WayUp.com, and Craigslist.

  1. Offer Fair Compensation

Compensation can come in the form of college credits, company perks, knowledge and skill sets — as well as money. If you know your intern is going to be doing mostly menial tasks, it might be fair to you both to offer them an hourly wage. If they are getting college credit and you know you’re also going to be working to equip them with valuable skills and knowledge, they might not mind working for free. Most students state that compensation is the least important factor when deciding on an internship as long as they’re benefitting in some other way. Just make sure to research your state’s laws about interns before you decide how you’re going to go about compensating them.

  1. Mind Your Workplace and Labor Laws

Speaking of laws — this should go without saying but most of the labor laws that apply to employees, like workplace discrimination laws, also apply to summer interns. The same goes for health and safety laws – and some states require that you carry workers’ comp insurance for your interns as well as your full-time employees.

Hiring summer interns is all about finding the right applicants for the job. Get in touch with Vesper if you need help finding awesome summer interns this year!