8 Steps to Develop a Successful Startup Internship Program

Hiring interns can in great benefit of a startup, for various reasons; you can have the highly enthusiastic and super talented youth to work for you for relatively lower costs. But, the same may backfire if you do not have a well thought and properly planned internship program in place. Ideally, a successful internship program for a startup or a small business is the one in which a majority of interns are converted to full-time employees.

To achieve this success and build a team of leaders out of interns, a startup should incorporate some key strategies to their internship program. This article will discuss the 8 steps to develop a successful internship program for your startup. Using theses strategies you can hire the best interns and turn them into a business leader for your startup.

1- Outline the Internship Program Goals:

The first and foremost step towards bringing the best talent to your startup is to create an internship program outline which should state your objectives and goals. As a startup, your main goals is certainly to hire people who contribute to the business growth.

In order to have success with internship program, you need to break these major goals into achievable and measurable objectives, i.e:

  • How many people your organization needs for now and when you will need more people.
  • What expertise and skills are required.
  • In how much time frame you want to convert the interns into full time employees.

There may be some more points to consider depending on your business model, but with these basic things in mind you can take a quick start.

2- Project the Right Time:

The best time to roll out your internship program is before the students appear for their final exams. This is mainly because, it takes time to find the best talent out of a crowd. There will be several stages of screening and interviews, so the early your start the better it will be.

Moreover, make sure that the screening process should be completed before they are done with the final exams, so you can start interviewing them right after it.

3- Find & Hire the Relevant Talent:

According to the researches, employers who have the most successful internship programs find interns by targeting schools by academic major, experience at the school, and the quality of the programs offered.

Conduct your talent hunt on these lines and you should find the right people. In case, if you are seeking help of a recruiter for your internship program, make sure they have effective presence at the career fairs and often run on-campus information sessions.

Once you have a list of potential candidates, ideally you should have a pre-employment assessment process in place to filter the list based on required knowledge and skills, experience, attitude and aptitude.

Man assisting woman in computer room

4- Offer Real Work Assignments:

One of the most important steps in converting an intern into a full-time employee is offering the student a real-work experience. Believe me, it won’t benefit either of you if you get them to make copies or coffee. Assigning them the real work benefits your organization by boosting the productivity while training the intern for the next level.

So, make sure that you have a job description for each intern that you hire, and communicate this job description to them before they join in.

5- Give Them the Performance Goals:

Exactly like you have performance goals for your regular employees, interns should also be given the goals which you should check at a month or six-weeks mark. Involve them in the meetings, have their input for relevant decisions, and also ask them to give a presentation at the end of their internship.

6- Offer an Opportunity that Mirrors the Full Time Job:

Deal your interns as regular employees; ideally your interns should be doing all the work of an entry level executive. The more you involve them with their relevan teams, the better it will serve the organization through increased producitvity.

7- Offer Interns a Handome Compensation:

We are living in a fast paced world where time is the money; the days of un-paid internships are long gone and paying interns is actually a good business. Paid internships open the door to a wider applicant pool and ensures them that their time and skills are valued. Moreover, when you are making the students do real work, there is a possibility of legal entanglement if they are not paid.

In addition to the basic salary, some organizations also offer other benefits to interns, i.e. relocation assistance like book your accommodation in Brussels, planned social activities like movie nights, hiking trip etc., paid holidays, vouchers, and recognition for their work.

8- Help Them to Fit Will in the Organizational Culture:

Another key factor for interns conversion is that they should feel being a part of the organization. Many times, we talk about giving them the exposure to corporate culture, but helping them becoming an essential part of the organization is more important.

Help them understand how you do business, how the organization expects co workers to treat each other, how the organization is giving back to the society and so on. In a nutshell, they should be convinced that they are working for the best organization where they see growing their career along with the business and should not feel going anywhere else.

Moreover, you should present them the permanent job offer before their internship ends.

The Bottom Line:

Hiring interns is one of the most cost effective option to build a highly productive startup team, however it requires thorough planning and proper implementation to be fruitful. In a nutshell, create job descriptions that can take your organization to the next level, then hire the student interns that best match these job descriptions, involve them with the organizational goals and make them feel being an essential part of the organization, and your startup is already on the growth track.

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