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This story originally appeared on Due
In some variation, internships have been around for centuries. For example, back in the 1080s, it took apprentices up to seven years to learn a trade. And, this came with perks like not earning wages or getting married. Sometimes an apprentice would have to pay their boss for teaching them.
Thankfully, apprenticeships are more favorable today. But, what internships? Well, that’s a whole new ball game.
The term “intern” actually originated in the medical community. Time reported that the term described doctors who had medical degrees. However, they did not have licenses prior to World War I. Therefore, during the post-war era, interns became known as doctors-in-training.
As time went on, businesses adopted the phrase for their own specific programs. As an example, co-op programs became popular in the 1960s. These programs allowed students to try out different careers while also making money to pay for tuition.
Many entry-level jobs have been replaced by internships today. Whether you’re a high school senior, a student in college, or a recent graduate, internships can be an invaluable experience.
But, should your finance firm hire interns? The only way to answer that question is to weigh the pros and cons.
Why You Should Hire Interns
When well-designed, an internship program can be extremely beneficial to employers. The catch? It must be structured, well-planned, and provide the interns with sufficient supervision.
When adequate training is provided beforehand or when an intern orientation is held, results will increase significantly. But, in order to make an internship program worth the investment, you must dedicate adequate time and resources to it. When you, this will make the program more competitive, which will increase the number of applicants.
Discover new and hidden talent.
Internships can offer the opportunity to discover new and unique talents that your current team may not possess. Even better? These talented individuals may stick around for the long haul. It’s estimated that about 65% of paid internships turn into full-time jobs, while 39% of internships that are unpaid turn into full-time jobs.
This is encouraging news for several reasons. First, interns provide fresh perspectives regarding your business, strategies, and plans. In turn, this can help you develop a better understanding of your company’s vision and learn about new or emerging products and services. And, they can educate you on new ways to better help your clients.
As an added perk, since they’re in tune with the latest tech and trends, you can become exposed to new ways to promote your firm. For example, bolstering your social media presence to inform younger investors on topics ranging from budgeting to retirement planning.
Also, because your interns already have knowledge of your company’s structure, goals, and trends, they can align the right tools and message for your finance firm.
Reduces employee workload.
When there aren’t enough team members, projects or tasks become overloaded. Cross-training staff and hiring temporary workers might ease this challenge. But usually just in the short term. And, sometimes, not only does this not solve the long-term problem, but it can also make it worse.
With that in mind. Having extra sets of hands on the job isn’t the worst idea. For this to be effective, though, you need interns who are eager to learn and be assigned simple, short-term tasks and projects. Additionally, they can be used to replace employees absent due to vacations or medical leaves.
What’s more, this reduces tensions or conflicts since current employees’ workload is eased. Consequently, this boosts productivity; keep in mind that interns are still learning, so don’t overwhelm them with too much information or responsibilities.
Can be converted into full-time employees.
As I already mentioned, the use of internships can help fill vacant positions and find new talent. Even so, not every intern will become a full-time employee. The intern will be required to finish the internship, no matter what.
Many internship programs recruit interns in the summer before the start of a program. That can be beneficial if you have team members going on vacation or working summer hours. However, to get a head start on hiring, begin the interview process eight to nine months before an internship program starts.
Provides mentorship opportunities.
Mentoring young people is popular among employees. Your employees can meet with and talk with younger people, usually college students, by providing a college internship program. Eventually, they’ll be able to mentor them. Mentorship programs are beneficial to both your organization’s culture and to the intern’s well-being and growth.
No matter what size the business is, internships can be a cost-effective option. However, unpaid internships are possible, as some businesses aren’t obligated to offer interns a monetary wage. As such, they can utilize the interns for free.
However, unpaid internships involve legal complexities. Taking interns through training or providing a comprehensive educational experience might be ideal in a working environment. In addition, the employer must designate an employee (manager or supervisor) to supervise the intern.
Also, an unpaid intern cannot replace an employee. Therefore, obtaining a full education should be the goal of anyone participating in an internship program — even those who are not paid.
For-profit businesses are more likely to offer paid internships. Note that interns must be paid at least the minimum wage. And, if they’ve accrued over time, they must be compensated for that as well.
Further, paying internships typically attract better and more reliable candidates and potential employees. It’s not an employer’s obligation to hire interns after their internship — regardless of whether they are paid or unpaid.
Why You Shouldn’t Hire Interns
As I previously mentioned, employer-provided internships aren’t something to be taken lightly. As a student or young professional, you need to provide them with mentorship and the proper training. Interns should not be substitutes for full-time employees. But, at the same time, they should have real objectives and learn skills for their future careers.
You’re too busy.
Avoid hiring interns if you aren’t certain of your skills or availability as a supervisor. Training and mentorship will not be beneficial for either party unless you’re willing to put in the time and effort. After all, interns aren’t familiar with your business or a professional setting. That means you need to make more of a commitment to train and mentor them.
The program does not have any clearly defined objectives.
You don’t have to hire interns just because you need additional assistance. To reduce your workload, consider hiring temporary staff or contractors. Also, consider the goals you want your interns to achieve by the time they complete their internships.
You have no intention to hire the intern.
Employers hire interns through internship programs. There might not be a need for internships for businesses that do not compete for junior employees. Training short-term workers who might not be hired in the future does not seem to be a good business decision for these companies.
As an example, Netflix has no internship program and is completely transparent about it. A Quora staffer wrote that “Netflix does not have to compete for senior-level developers, nor does it have to build a pipeline for engineers/managers to train, nor does it need to create a more positive image among students entering the market.”
You’re just in need of a part-time staffer.
A couple of days a week is not enough to justify hiring an intern. Internships are meant to provide professional development opportunities for students. Internships are not low-cost or free labor for mundane and boring tasks. In fact, a quarter of the time that interns spend on clerical work is prohibited.
Your managers aren’t mentors.
To be a successful intern, you need someone who is qualified to coach, guide, and mentor you. Interns may not be provided a meaningful experience if their mentor doesn’t give them priority. As such, it’s important to know how interested you or your employees are in helping an intern launch their career.
Interns will not know your business, industry & customer (& won’t have time to do so sufficiently).
“If you hire a regular employee, part of their training will include an indoctrination in your business, how it works, what you sell, etc.,” writes Matt Heinz, President and Founder of Heinz Marketing. “You’ll also likely help them understand your customer and industry, so their daily work can be rooted in who (and what) matters.”
“With interns, this kind of investment doesn’t always make sense. But if you don’t have time to do that, they’re that much less likely to be able to naturally (and on their own) make good decisions. Which makes them higher maintenance, too.”
The bottom line.
A hard and reliable worker is always in high demand by companies. A good employee should be able to follow instructions and not overstep boundaries. In addition, they need people to help them run their businesses as smoothly and efficiently as possible. And, that’s exactly why finance firms should consider hiring interns — to see if they’ve got the right stuff.
Furthermore, interns can introduce fresh perspectives while also increasing productivity. But, it’s imperative to keep tabs on the progress of your interns to help them grow and reach your business goals.