Companies can do better when they look for a good intern. On the flip side, judging by listings on Craigslist.com, companies also abuse interns on a regular basis.
Here’s how to make the experience work better for both the intern and the company.
Ask for examples of what they have accomplished in your industry. Examples might include volunteering at an animal shelter if you are an animal nonprofit, helping in day care or a school if you are a child related nonprofit, serving as a candy striper if you are a medical nonprofit. This is much more revealing than a résumé.
Hire only seniors and grad students.
They have the most motivation and more years of learning experience.
Use them only for professional activities.
Don’t ask them to sweep the floors, or simply file documents and make copies—give them actual hands on experience.
Bring them to meetings.
That way, they can experience day-to-day activities.
Meet with them bi-weekly.
Use that time to learn what is working and what is not.
Pay for their parking.
You don’t want them walking in the rain 15 minutes to get to you or running out to a parking meter every hour.
Ask that they give you a minimum of 16 hours per week.
Pay them an hourly wage.
Ten dollars is a good way to go. Even if they are getting credit, pay them a stipend—maybe $400 a month. This is an internship, not free help.
Susan Tellem, APR, BS, BSN, a partner at Tellem Grody PR, Inc., has hired interns for more than 25 years and always pays them to keep them happy.