In addition to tenacity, innovation and grit, startups often rely on interns. Considering many new business ventures don’t have a ton of cash and need a lean team to begin with, this makes sense: interns are young, eager, energetic and, well, cheap. So bringing in an intern or two makes a lot of sense – but finding them can sometimes be tricky.
In addition to recruiting them, you’ll need to have an onboarding plan, an idea of the type of work they’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis and a plan for providing any on-the-job training they might require. After all, as much as they’ll be helping you and your business, you should be helping them, too.
If you’re unsure of how to get started, but know that you’re in serious need of some fresh faces around the office, try these tips.
Use your network
Like most first-steps in business, reach out to your network of contacts and let them know that you’re looking for interns. They may have great recommendations to send your way and can provide both invaluable advice as well as a few résumés for you to consider.
Go back to university
To find interns, you need to go to where they are: university. Many schools hold internship fairs, so reach out to your local campus for the information on how to be involved. If you have friends in your field who are adjunct professors or guest lecturers, let them know that you’re in the market for interns and ask if you could swing by their classes to do a quick advertising pitch – and potentially interview some candidates on the spot.
Embrace social media
Posting an open position on a job board may be second-nature to you as a professional, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, you should also shout about your inaugural internship programme on your social media pages and ask your network to share the posts. The speed and reach of social media is often unmatched, and that is likely where many students and fresh graduates will be spending their time online anyway – might as well meet them there.
Treat them well
Keep in mind that in Singapore, interns are covered under the Employment Act – this means that they must be treated fairly and compensated. Though there are scenarios where interns can be hired in conjunction with a college course, interns are often paid. If this is something you can’t afford, don’t lose heart – there are government grants you can apply for to help you afford interns.
Provide true work experience
Though it’s likely that you’ll have plenty of tasks for an intern to help out with that are not getting coffee or picking up dry cleaning, do your best to ensure that they’re getting experience relevant to their interests and skills or course of study. If they seem keen to learn new skills, encourage them to speak with team members who can help teach them on-the-job.
At the end of the internship period, hopefully your business will have received some great assistance on projects, and your interns will not only gain experience in a professional environment, but experience they can apply when they begin their career. And who knows? Maybe one day those interns will become employees for you!