Last week, I discussed the benefits of having a corporate internship program and shared some of NAPW’s experiences from our 2015 summer internship program. We loved the experience and so did the young women who joined us. If you’re interested in starting an internship program, we hope it provided some insightful inspiration.
Internship programs come in a range of different sizes and goals. If you’re a small business owner, you may require just one intern to help with your tasks. If you run a medium-to-large sized company, you may want to create a program to recruit hundreds of interns every year. Still, every successful internship program entails a well thought-out strategy of your goals and logistics before the recruitment process even begins.
If you or your company are looking to hire interns, follow these tips to make it a great experience for all:
Learn the Labor Laws
Remember, I’m an attorney – I want you to know the law and protect yourself when it comes to your internship program. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor to familiarize yourself with The Fair Labor Standards Act. Read about paid vs. unpaid work, setting hours and what an intern can be asked to do. Remember, an intern is not a volunteer, free help or meant to replace an employee. He/she is there to learn, grow and expand a knowledge base. Your job is to provide an active environment where that can be possible.
Ensure You Can Provide an Active Learning Environment
Good internships are good business. However, interns aren’t for everyone. For instance, Netflix generally does not hire interns, recent college graduates or junior level developers, as their fast-paced, self-directed company culture isn’t an ideal environment for interns to learn and grow. Interns require attention, supervision with a splash of creative freedom and the unique opportunity to learn closely from a mentor or industry expert. Before hiring an intern, really think about whether your company has the time, resources and the commitment to follow through and guarantee a positive experience.
Find Qualified Applicants at Any Age or Career Point
When we created our internship program, we contacted the career services department at a local university. They recommended qualified students and provided us with their resumes. Keep in mind, while the college student population thrive on internships, it’s not the only candidate pool to dip into. For instance, I recently read about a company that exclusively hires women over 40 to join their “Enternship Workshop.” What a brilliant idea! It’s estimated that there are upwards of 3 million women with advanced college degrees trying to re-enter the American workforce, so this benefits women, businesses and America—it’s a win-win-win! If you’re thinking about starting an internship program, consider looking within your NAPW network for talented, seasoned professionals.
Here’s to being in the business of giving back! Keep learning, achieving, leaning in and empowering women (at all ages) to do the same. xoxo
Missed ‘Part One’? Read it here.
We want to hear from you! Have you or your company designed an internship program? Share about the success and challenges you encountered and what your experience was like below.