Internships can be mutually beneficial. However, some employers can take advantage of interns by not providing them with the experience they were expecting. When internships work they provide a stepping stone for the intern. They provide the intern with valuable experience for their CV as well as a reference. For the employer, they get valuable skills which helps them grow their business at a reduced cost.
How to find Interns
One of the best sources of interns is universities. There are a lot of students in Ireland and around Europe who are keen to have work experience in an office (or in an English speaking country on their CV). So much so that students around Europe are paying companies to find an internship for them. Contact the career advisory service in local universities and speak to them about the opportunities you can offer. You can also post a flyer on a university notice board. Finally, you can post on websites such as xperience.ie, gumtree.ie or dublinstartupjobs.com. You can also search on linkedin as some potential interns say on their profile “looking for an internship”
Figure out what they want
When you start receiving applications it’s important to understand what the intern’s current ability is, their capacity to learn and what you can offer. For some interns they what an opportunity to improve their business English, to get experience working in an office and to get a reference. For others it can be very specific e.g. working with a web language like Ruby or Php. It’s important at this stage to make it very clear to the intern what you can offer and what you expect in return.
If you are a startup it’s a great opportunity to start building your reputation as a great place for interns to work and gain experience. Doing so will ensure a supply of quality interns in the future resulting in lower costs and improved cash flow. While helping your business you also have the opportunity to help others start their career and gain valuable experience.
At the end of the internship it would be useful to have short 30 minute conversation with the intern to get their feedback on their experience. They may even provide you with insights on how aspects of your business can be run better such as more efficient processes or better ways of marketing your product or service. It’s important to get their feedback so you can improve the service you provide to interns. Doing so will help you attract better quality staff in the future.