Why To Consider An Intern

Looking for summer help? Considering how to get through the holidays on a budget? Need some extra hands but can’t afford a new employee? Consider an intern!

As a small business retail or wholesale owner, you are able to offer an intern many valuable learning experiences that a corporate, more structured company cannot. It’s possible you can expose them to buying, marketing, merchandising, publicity and so much more – sometimes even in just one day! The advantages on their side are obvious – great experience, great opportunity to learn, great resume builder – but it’s not just about them. There are many reasons you can gain from an intern, too.

Working For You

Often small companies dismiss the idea of an intern because they believe that having one will just get in their way of completing day to day reponsibilities. However, if you let an intern work in your favor, you should find that an intern can add value to your business. Think about the pushed off projects you want to do but just haven’t had time for… Now think about how an intern may be able to help. Consider your strengths, now consider your weaknesses. Possibly an intern who has strengths as your weaknesses can support you where you need it most. Want to gain press but don’t know where to start? A student majoring in marketing and publicity with an interest in retail or your specific business may be the perfect fit. Finally, it goes without saying that you can often get an intern for less money than other employees since they need the credit for school and many are willing to work for experience – not pay. In a perfect world you could pay them at least a little – but it’s your business and your call on that one. Some companies exchange product for their  intern’s support while others pay minimum wage. Just make sure you are aware of the student’s necessary school obligations, as it will be common for you to have to sign off on their work in order for them to get credit having worked as an intern for your business. In addition, it’s often common that you will need to cover certain topics within the internship for it to be approved by the school.

Finding An Intern

Craigslist  is always a hot destination spot for college kids to check job opportunities out, but if you want to really narrow down your search for an intern, go directly to the source. Reach out to colleges with departments that you believe would benefit your business and forward them a well organized intern job description for them to share with their students. Be clear in what your expectations are, pay and hours. In return, your responses should be better suited for your needs.

A first call, phone interview is a great way to weed the good from the bad. You can tell a lot from a phone converstaion. Is the student excited that you called? Do you feel as if they are engaged in the converstaion? Are they answering your questions in a fashion in which you like? If so, invite them for a face to face interview. If not, let them know you will follow up with qualified candidates, therefore not following up with them if you feel they are not the best candidate.

The actual face to face interview is a vital step in choosing your intern. You want to make sure you find a polished, professionally driven college student who will not waste your time but maxmize it and add value to your company. Ask questions that truly matter to you and your business and don’t be scared to be too picky. You should be – it’s your time and your business. Finally, when all the interviews are completed, enjoy your new support and hopefully your business will enjoy the rewards of your intern, as well.


  • Maria Hogan
    June 11, 2009

    Hi Nicole-
    Great article about interns…might have to consider this as those projects I have planned keep going into an even bigger basket! Thanks.
    Maria 🙂

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