In this economy all businesses are looking for ways to become more efficient. Whether you’re a website development company who builds websites for clients or you’re a business owner who needs to build your own website, hiring an intern with website development skills can be a very strategic move on your part. Not only are young people creative and usually up on the latest web trends, but they come cheaper than other more seasoned website developers.
In this article we are going to explore how hiring interns can help with your next website development project, the benefits of hiring interns, structuring the internship program, ideas for finding the best interns for your company, what you should pay your interns, and how to get the most out of your interns.
Hire an Intern to Help with Your Next Website Development Project
Again, because of the economy, there is a larger than normal supply of talented individuals out there looking for a great paid internship. Not only do you have all of the college students, but you have kids who are graduating now and are having a tough time finding a full-time position. Now, just because there’s more talent out there does not mean you’re automatically going to choose the best intern for your project. As we get further into this article we will talk more about how to make sure you find the right intern for your company. One of the most critical pieces to it is planning for your internship before you even start looking for your intern(s). Once you have flushed out the project(s) that you want an intern to help you with it’s time to start looking for the right candidate. If you structure your internship program the right way both parties can benefit tremendously from your internship.
Benefits of an Internship for the Intern
Internships offer students and recent college graduates a number of benefits. Below is a list of some of the top benefits an internship can bring to an intern, but I’m sure there are many more.
Get paid to learn a new skill or set of skills.
Gain real world experience.
Expand your network – As I’m sure you have heard, in business, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
It could lead to a full-time position.
Get more out of your education – When you intern at an organization while in school you learn how to put what you’re learning in school into practice. This will do wonders for you understanding of the course material.
Again, these are just a few of the many benefits that an internship can provide a student.
Internships, a Personal Story
Internships are hugely important to have on your resume when you’re either in college getting ready to graduate or you’re already out of college and looking to land your first corporate job. Companies want to hire people who have real-world experience, not just book smarts. When I was in college I started interning Freshman year. Now, part of that was because I had to pay my own way through school, so I needed the money. Instead of just going to get a part-time job either waiting tables or bartending I decided to get an internship in a field that I had always been interested in, Marketing. That first internship wasn’t glamorous, but it helped me get my second internship. By the summer of Sophomore year parlayed my experience into an internship in Beverly Hills, California. Being from Pennsylvania and going to school just outside of Boston, working 2.5 days in Southern California while spending the rest of the time living it up was an amazing experience for a 19 year old. When it came time to setup an internship for the following summer an opportunity on Madison Avenue in New York City presented itself. I ended up beating out over 40 other students for an internship at a huge ad agency. Finally, when I graduated from college I was able to land a great first job. What do I attribute that to? Certainly not solely based on my 3.40 GPA. It was because the company could tell I was a go-getter and also had a lot of experience for a college graduate.
Benefits of an Internship for the Website Development Company
A well thought out internship program can be hugely beneficial for your company. You can get quality website development work done from a creative go-getter for cheaper than you would have to pay a full-time employee. If you’re thinking you might actually need to hire someone full-time in the future you can also use your internship program as a “tryout” for that full-time position.
Structuring an Internship Program for Your Website Development Company
If you have been following the articles I write for InstantShift.com then you know I’m all about planning, especially when it comes to website development and structuring an internship program. Too many times companies come up with an idea that they think can improve their business and before they take time to think it through, set goals, come up with the right strategy, etc. they are jumping into it with both feet.
Unfortunately many companies learn the hard way that if they don’t take time to plan for these activities then they usually fail, even if it’s a great idea.
Below are the steps that you should take before hiring an intern:
Determine what your goal is for the internship? Is there a specific project that you want to hire an intern for?
Come up with a list of skills or attributes that you are looking for in an intern.
Figure out which team members will be responsible for managing your internship program and your intern. Make sure to get them on board early. Make them feel like they are part of planning process.
Develop a training program for your intern(s).
Come up with a clear set of deliverables that your intern(s) can work towards each week.
Figure out what you will pay your intern.
Come up with a list of tactics for finding the right intern.
Get creative. Come up with a creative way to incentivize your intern(s) so that they go above and beyond for you. Whether that’s a financial reward, a contests with a cool prize, maybe if your intern hits all of his/her objectives they have a chance “be the boss for the day” at the end of the internship program.
If you take some time to complete each of the eight steps above then you are giving yourself every opportunity to run a successful internship program.
Ideas for Finding the Best Interns for Your Company
Attracting the best possible talent to help you achieve your goals for your Internship Program is extremely important. As we briefly covered above, because of the current economy you have a lot of talented individuals who can come in and help you with your website development project right away. That said, sometimes having more people to choose from can actually make things more difficult or time consuming. Don’t fall into the trap of never ending your search. During the planning process you put together a list of attributes that you want in an intern. When you find people that match your criteria then pull the trigger. So, how do you find those people? Below is a list of ideas for finding the best interns for your next website development project.
Use the local colleges to attract interns – Colleges have so many programs geared towards helping students find interns. Reach out to some of the best colleges in your area that focus on website development, visit their websites, contact someone at the school, and get your internship listed at each of those colleges.
Ask your employees if they know anyone who might make for a good intern. It might be a good idea to not allow any family members to be recommended. Sometimes hiring an employee’s son or daughter can be a great thing, other times it can go South. I’d stay away from it if you can.
Use LinkedIn to search for students in the area who are interested in website development.
Attend some local young professionals meetups/events. There are usually young professionals meetups in most towns. Check some of those events out. Oh, and they are usually at bars, so even if you don’t find a great intern, you can have a great night out!
How Much Should I Pay My Interns?
The all important question, how much should I pay my intern(s)? This really depends on the level of complexity of your website development project, the number of hours required from your intern, and your budget. I would recommend that you do pay your interns as you will get more out of them. An exercise that I usually ask companies to go through is to determine how much you would pay a full-time employee if you had to hire someone to do the same task. Once you have a number in mind, take that number down based on the fact that your intern will have less experience and a smaller skill set than a full-time employee. If you would pay someone $20 – $25 per hour to do a job, then you can consider paying your intern $10 – $14 per hour. $14 – $15 per hour for a college student is still a decent wage, especially if you can offer him or her 15 – 20 hours per week. The key is to finding a number that’s fair for the intern, but also saves you about 40% – 60% of the costs when compared to hiring a full-time employee.
Get the Most from Your Internship Program
It’s important that if you move forward with setting up an internship program at your company that you get the most out of it. Whether you’re having your intern work on an internal project or you’re hiring an intern to work on a client project you need to get a quality performance out of your intern. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your internship program.
Take time to plan for your internship program before hiring someone
Come up with a structured set of tasks for your intern
Pick the right manager for your intern
Pay your intern
Offer more than a financial incentive – We discussed this a little bit in the article above. Make it fun. Set up a contest. Make your intern feel like he/she is part of the team.
If you follow the steps for planning out your internship that we review together above, and you utilize some of the tips that I just presented, you will be on the right track with your internship.
Have you ever interned at a company? What was your experience like? Would you recommend internships to students currently in college? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share any of your internships stories or any advice that you have by leaving a comment below. We can’t wait to read about all of your amazing internship experiences!