Startups are cash-strapped organizations. Focused on fine-tuning products and services, dealing with investors and fundraising campaigns, startup founders and employees oftentimes simply don’t have enough hours in their days to taking care of the smaller – but still important – functions around the office.
Hiring an intern may just be the fix your startup needs to take it a step forward.
How to find interns for your startup is a complex process.
Don’t think of interns simply as sources of cheap labor to catch up your stacks of paperwork, but rather that they can add value to your startup. Remember, every hour at a startup counts towards its success or failure and hiring the right intern will play a role in that.
Clever interns can reduce the number of projects or tasks on your desk. Hiring interns at startups is very different to hiring interns at big corporations.
To maximize the role of your intern needs you to complete advance planning and preparation, supervise their work and also to mentor them through growing their skills.
To find interns for your startup you need to outline just why and what roles they would fill.
Focusing on that will also reveal to you who would be best suited as interns at your startup and how they could best learn and grow from this internship.
It may seem like a lot of commitment – and it is – but the rewards far outweigh the task.
Read on for the best insider tips on how to find interns for your startup.
Why Hire Interns for Your Startup?
Hiring interns for your startup brings a number of benefits. We have outlined the top four reasons below that also help you to narrow your search for the best interns.
As students, interns bring novel ideas and approaches to problem-solving in the workplace. Their lack of experience – in this case – counts in their favor. Their thinking hasn’t been biased or become overly familiar with your product or service that they can’t see its potential enhancements.
Another aspect of this is that we know students are far more tech-savvy than we are, and this usually helps them to do their work faster and more accurately. It might even lead to the startup adopting a more streamlined process to cut costs.
An internship doesn’t necessarily need to evolve into full-time employment. In fact, the growing trend with interns is to be placed at different startups and companies to broaden their skills to better equip themselves for employment once they graduate.
Interns will only work for your startup if they can learn and add skills to their resume. By setting projects or specific roles for them will benefit both parties.
Startups are organizations in their infancy. For the most part, they lack credibility and reputation in their industries and oftentimes in their communities too.
An internship program will transform that. After all, if interns are lining up to work at your startup then surely investors would recognize your potential to invest in your company too.
With excited and skilled interns returning to their places of study, their universities, colleges, graduate and trade schools will be more likely in future to send their best students to you to make it easier for you to recruit top interns.
As we’ve already established, interns aren’t a source of cheap labor. In fact, there are labor regulations in place to guide and determine just what interns are and aren’t allowed to do, as well as stipulating whether or not your government allows for unpaid or paid internships.
Remember that internships are mutually beneficial arrangements and you need to leverage that – if an intern believes in your startup and feels they could gain from their involvement, they will be more likely to dedicate their time, thinking and passion to furthering the aims of your startup.
Which Interns are Right for Your Startup?
Before you place any job adverts calling for interns, the best practice is to first understand what purpose an intern will fulfil at your startup. Every hour at your startup is invaluable and the last you thing want to do is to have to constantly assign interns work, check their progress, test their results when you could be carrying out high-level tasks instead.
Outline each role an intern will fulfil, the training they will need to successfully carry out those tasks, calculate how many hours and when they will need to work. Assigning an intern to a specific department – with its particular experience or understanding required – and the list of functions they will perform as well as the skills they will gain, will make it clearer to interns and your colleagues just what is expected of the interns to help your startup move forward.
In this way, the best internship programmes are project-based. These offer clear goals, timelines and results. As this is a mutually beneficial arrangement, describe to the interns what the resume-ready skills are they will be able to gain. This also serves to focus your search for appropriate candidates for your internship roles – and creates a pipeline of potential future recruits too.
How to Find Interns for Your Startup?
When you’re hiring interns, ask yourself if you would hire them full-time. An internship doesn’t necessarily evolve into full employment, but hiring the intern that fits in with your startup’s company culture, their personality fits with your team’s dynamic and they are as passionate about your vision as you are, it will help to create the best possible environment for the success of the internship.
Approaching the local universities, colleges, graduate schools or trade schools should be your first stop in finding interns for your startup. Along with those, posting internship positions on your startup’s social media platforms will also help you to collect candidates to work through to find the right interns.
However, that all starts with a clear and candid job description. Simply asking for students to sacrifice their study time to work for a new startup (that could potentially fail sometime in the near future), isn’t enough.
Outline the type of work they will do, the project they will be involved with, who they will be working with, and what skills they will have learned come the end of the internship. The interns need to know what they will gain from their involvement, and how they can benefit from the role for their future.
Describe your startup’s business, as well as your company culture so they they are aware of exactly what they will be getting themselves in for, and outline why your company should be the one where they want to intern.