How to Hire a Full-Time Intern for Your Business | Fora Financial Blog
Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Full-Time Intern
March 21, 2019

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Full-Time Intern

Hiring an intern is a win-win situation for both parties: the intern gets work experience and your business gets additional labor at a reduced fee.

According to Forbes, approximately 1.5 million internships are filled each year in the United States. Many students accept internships with hopes to be hired at the end of their contract, while others are simply excited to get work experience in their desired field.

Small businesses can benefit from getting a full-time intern, but it’s different than hiring regular employees. Interns want to get introductory experience in their field, and you may have to fill out forms for them to receive college credit. When you factor in state and federal labor laws, hiring an intern can require considerable work. Luckily, we’ve compiled this guide so that you can be prepared!

In this post, we’ll list five things you need to know about hiring a full-time intern, so you can start interviewing qualified candidates.

How to Hire a Full-Time Intern:

1. Understand Labor Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1938 which regulates minimum wage, overtime, equal pay, recordkeeping, and child labor.

According to the FSLA, many interns working at for-profit companies are considered employees and subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. If you’re looking to hire an unpaid intern, they must meet the requirements of Primary Beneficiary Test. The expectations are….

  • You and the intern must clearly understand that there’s no expectation of compensation.
  • The training is similar to what they would get in an educational environment,
  • The internship is tied to formal education by integration of coursework, or they receive academic credit.
  • The internship corresponds to the academic calendar and commitments.
  • The internship is during a limited period but long enough to learn the necessary skills or knowledge.
  • The work complements, rather than displaces the work of your paid employees, and provides significant educational benefits to the intern.
  • Both you and the intern understand that at the end of the internship there’s no promise of a full-time job.

It’s important to note that these are federal requirements and each state has additional rules you must adhere to. Please check with your state laws before making any decisions.

2. Consider Salary or Stipend vs. College Credit

You must decide if you want to hire an intern to receive a salary, college credit, or both. Hiring an intern for a small salary opens up the talent pool to recent graduates or people not enrolled in college, but you must have the budget to pay the intern at least minimum wage.

Hiring an intern for college credit gives you free labor, but you must adhere to the strict rules of the Primary Beneficiary Test, and the internship must provide educational value. You also might be subject to additional paperwork from the intern’s academic institution. This decision should be made before posting the job, so you know which candidates meet the qualifications.

3. Create Clear Job Postings

You may need to get creative when posting job descriptions for internships, especially if you’re posting one for college credit. Visiting local universities to talk with their career development team is the first place to start. Many colleges have job and internship fairs, and they may invite you to have a booth where you can meet prospective applicants in-person. Most millennials are also active on social media, so you can post the job description to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for a wider reach.


4. Provide Thorough Training

All internships, regardless of whether the intern is getting paid, should provide educational value. The intern is taking the position at a free or reduced rate and wants to get something in return. You should not only train the intern on how to do the job, but about the industry and workforce in general. For instance, you could teach them about benefits, 401k’s, and office etiquette, or allow your interns to go to important meetings with their boss and take notes.

5. Offer Mentorship Opportunities

Many students or young professionals take an internship, so they can gain mentorship experience. Someone guiding them through their work and giving feedback can be invaluable, so it’s important that you have a strong mentor on your staff who’s willing to train your interns.

Mentors should be willing to share their skills and knowledge, give positive and constructive feedback, take time to get to know the intern, and be experts in their field. Not only will having a mentor with these qualities benefit the intern, but it’ll also give the mentor an opportunity to be a leader in your workplace.

Conclusion: Start Recruiting Early

Students look for internships months in advance, so if you’re interested in hiring an intern for the next semester, it’s best to start the recruitment process now. Also, summer interns may come from another state, so they’ll need time to find housing and arrange their travel plans.

Although hiring a full-time intern can be a lot of work, the opportunity to help a young professional can be very rewarding experience for your business. Do you have any tips for hiring an intern? Tell us in the comments section below!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].