Make Interns Work to Your Business’ Advantage

 

Interns can do more for your business—yes, more than run out and get you coffee

 

Dominguez Marketing Communications Inc. CEO and Founder Mel Dominguez recounts how one of her former interns turned out to be one of the best employees she's ever had. “I had one former intern who stood out because of his writing. He applied for a job and has been with us for more than six years now. He is one of our most valuable employees,” says Dominguez.  


The next time an intern applicant hands out his or her application, keep these things in mind to maximize their potential for your business.

 

Screen the intern   

Screen interns the same way you would screen job applicants. Take in interns whose knowledge and skill set best fit your business. “We pre-check if they have a course related to our business,” says Dominguez, who prefer interns with background in communications or journalism. Be selective in such a way that you go for quality over quantity. Also consider the size of your workplace to know how many interns you can accommodate.

 

Develop a program

Make sure that the experience is mutually beneficial for the company and the intern. “They should not be the dumping ground of jobs that real employees don't want to do. They should have a program that takes them through various steps.” Begin by testing their skills to know which areas of the business they will most likely be of most help. For example, if you are in the IT business, someone taking up computer programming will be more relevant.

 

Lookout for potential employees

As interns learn from their internship program, they become more skilled and knowledgeable. Instead of opening job applications, one of your interns may turn out to be a perfect fit for your business. Having interns around gives you a pool of potential future employees. After all, as interns, they already have an idea about how things go in your business, which cuts back the learning curve than if you hired someone else.

 

Keep matters confidential

You cannot absorb each and every intern to be part of your business. At the end of the day, some will have to say goodbye and take with them tricks of the trade that you don’t want your competitors to know. Make your interns sign a nondisclosure agreement. You don’t want to run the risk of information leaking. Dominguez says, “We make sure that they are aware that there may be classified information that we may share.”

 

Get things done faster

Having interns around may help speed things up and get the work done faster. They will come in handy, especially during crunch time or peak business hours when your employees are busy. Make them do the things you have trained them to do. Give very specific instructions if you want them to do sensitive things, which could cost you your business.

 

Compensate for labor

While interns need you, you also need to compensate them. Give a decent allowance to cover simple meals and basic transportation. While rates may vary from one company to another, P150/day allowance is reasonable. “Since they spend hours in your company helping out, then it is only fair that we give them something in return that will make the experience complete,” concludes Dominguez.

 

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