Not Just Free Labor: Intern Protocol for Your Business

Businesses big and small rely on interns. Interns can bring energy and ingenuity to your company, and let’s face it, it helps to have eager hands tackle responsibilities that fall to the wayside by already overworked employees.

Though interns are a means to getting valuable assistance for little to no financial compensation, it’s important to do right by these young and energetic workers. If you plan to hire an intern or two for your company, be sure to follow these constructive tips for creating the best work experience for both your business and its interns.

Hire for a Finite Amount of Time

If you happen upon an intern who proves to be a hard-working addition to your team, you may never want to let her go. However, time is money for everyone – including interns – so be sure to clearly define the start and end date for your interns.

Should you need an intern to stay longer than expected to finish a project, make sure that your needs don’t interfere with her school schedule, and if possible, offer a bonus for her added time and work.

Explain Responsibilities in Detail

Most interns know that their duties may encompass less than scintillating tasks, but when bringing them on board, include some responsibilities that are relevant to their career goals.

Getting coffee and lunch may be an inherent part of the job, but do what you can to make your interns’ experience an educational one.

Depending on the field in which you work, let them sit in on meetings to better learn the internal workings of your business. You can also bring them along to client conferences or have them craft business proposals for discussion at your meetings.

No matter what you have your interns do, be honest about your expectations. Only by being candid about your needs can prospective interns make an informed decision as to whether your company is where they should spend their summer.

Make It Worth Their While


Payment, if even a nominal amount, can go a long way toward getting interns interested in working at your company. After all, even college kids need money to pay for their textbooks. However, some businesses, namely startups, may not have the financial means to pay interns.

If your company falls into this category, find another way to repay your interns for their hard work. Talk to their college to see if they can receive class credit for time at your company. You can also offer your interns the chance to meet and greet the company heads during their internships. Also, be generous with recommendations. If an intern did a notable job while with your organization, be sure to offer a reference for her future professional needs.

Keep in Touch for the Future

When an intern finishes up her stint at your company, don’t let that be the last time you see her. Past interns can provide a valuable pool of potential job candidates when you have an opening at your company.

Considering that you are already familiar with their work ethic, and they with your corporation’s infrastructure, interns can be a go-to resource when you need to replace a worker or expand your business.

Even if they are still in school or have taken a position elsewhere, a past intern likely has friends in the same field that might be the right fit for your needs. Instead of meeting with unknown applicants, take advantage of your intern connections for referrals and to vet potential job candidates.

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Anna Keizer

Anna Keizer

writes for, an online platform specializing in stationery cards. When she is not writing for Oubly, Anna enjoys writing screenplays and creative non-fiction. You can also read up on her daily adventures through her blog The Chicago DispLAcement

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