Recruit an Intern: 5 things You Need to Know Before Hiring

You are about to recruit an intern: have you thought of everything? Here are 5 aspects to keep in mind before hiring an intern.

Candidate Experience

Cindy Boisvert

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Each spring, many students reach the last few miles of their academic career. This means that many interns are available to put their learning to good use in an organization.

It may have crossed your mind to recruit an intern to meet your needs, or to give the opportunity to a student who asked if they could be an intern in your organization.

Before hiring an intern, there are several questions to ask in order for your organization to fully benefit from this temporary hire. Before hiring, here are 5 important aspects to consider.

1 – The tasks in the company and the field of study of the student

Internships can cover very broad areas, and there could be tasks that you have not thought of by simply reading the title of the internship papers. The intern will have a document summarizing the main objectives and tasks they will be expected to perform during their stay with the company.

Thus, the first question to ask before seriously considering hiring an intern is: “Can these described tasks be covered in your company?” Make links between the tasks that need to be accomplished and they company’s overall activities. While the application may be interesting, if the student’s field of study is not in any way compatible with what you can offer, then it is not worth pursuing further.

After reading the document, ask yourself if you have appropriate tasks for them. Is the student’s field of study relevant to your business? Will the assigned tasks be appropriate?

2 – Recruiting an intern also means mentoring and welcoming

To better combine their acquired knowledge and transpose it into tangible situations, the newly hired intern will need supervision.

Commit to appoint a person responsible for the student in your business. This person will ensure the orientation, training, evaluation, and supervision of the intern and will also work closely with the intern’s assigned professor.

Ensure you are ready for their arrival; providing them with the necessary materials and space for optimal performance. A good idea to put the student at ease would be to opt for a lunch meeting with the supervisor and/or a person who will be spending much of their time with said intern.

In addition to the supervisor, ensure that there are other resources available to properly supervise and accompany the student throughout their internship. Employees and managers who will work with the intern must be available to better integrate their attendance in their daily schedule.

By being well-supported, and having a proper welcome and well-structured internship, the intern will gain practical knowledge and will better integrate the techniques used within the company. Thus, they will be able to better achieve the transition between their academic experiences and real-life situations.

3 – Consider and/or provide for the remuneration of the intern

The training and development of professional skills does not always require compensation from the company that hires the intern. As it is often left to the discretion of the company, take the time to assess whether paying the intern is an option.

If compensation is required, evaluate the salary to be paid according the requirements of the internship. To help determine appropriate remuneration, consider the nature of tasks, schedules, academic and professional experience of the intern (sometimes it can be someone going back to school after years of experience on the market), the areas covered, etc.

If compensation is not mandatory and you choose not to pay (for budget reasons or other), you can think of alternatives. For example: gift cards, lunch meetings, offer to pay the public transit pass, give access to an expense account, free or discounted product or services your company offers, or even shares if your company is on the stock exchange.

4 – Getting to know the intern before you meet them

How do you get to immediately know the future intern you’ll come across? Have them complete a ​psychometric test. There is no better way to get to know and capitalize on the strengths of the intern during their stay within your business.

Because such work placements are usually for a period of a few weeks, you will not be able to firmly recognize what strengths and talents you can maximize. Equip yourself with tools that will allow you to quickly pinpoint the areas where your chances of success are high. You will also be able to identify the areas where you will undoubtedly have to make extra effort for the intern’s supervision.

5 – Meet the intern in an interview

Make the links between the personality of the intern, their values, attitudes, behaviors, and the realities of the social and technological environment at work.

Inform them about your business and the tasks to be performed during their internship. Ask them questions about their academic knowledge and their willingness to do an internship in your company. Provide them with relevant information regarding the internship, and inform them of their expected compensation.

Push the intern to discuss the strengths you will have already highlighted using the psychometric test and see how they can be best utilized during their internship.

You are ready to make an offer!

With proper evaluation of tasks, resources that can supervise the intern, and the evaluation of the remuneration aspect, you are now well-equipped. Good preparation for providing the right training can have a positive impact. Will this intern eventually become your employee? Will they commit elsewhere, but recommend your services to their employer?

Finally, having them complete a psychometric test will give you the impression that you already know your intern, thus being able to evaluate beforehand if there are opportunities for them to develop their strengths within your business.

Moreover, we, ourselves, welcome interns at AtmanCo and, of course, use the psychometric approach to ensure we make the right choice!

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