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Hiring Summer Interns

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Summer can benefit Maryland small business owners in a multitude of ways: businesses located in popular vacation destinations typically see a significant increase in revenues; warm weather and longer days improve moods, making people a bit more free and easy with their money, which means sales tend to be healthy in the summer months; and, because kids are out of school and life seems to slow down from its usually hectic pace, many consumers make purchases in the summer that they put off during the rest of the year. Another reason summer can benefit small business owners is the increased availability of cheap or free labor in the form of interns! High school and college students on break from classes are eager to gain experience in the workforce, particularly in positions that connect to their chosen career paths. It’s smart to take advantage of their willingness to learn and help. Ideally, internships are mutually beneficial. Here are some tips to help you have positive experiences with summer interns:

To Pay or Not to Pay? Make a Decision

There are pros and cons to both paid and unpaid internships for a business owner. For example, while an unpaid intern is obviously great because he won’t cost you anything, the Department of Labor has some pretty constraining laws in place regarding just how much – and what type of – work unpaid interns can do. A paid intern comes as an expense to your business, but she will be free to make more substantial contributions to it. Do some research, learn about the Department of Labor’s regulations, and decide which route seems best for you.

Make the Hiring Process Professional

Even though an internship seems so much more casual than a regular paid position, it’s a mistake to take a casual approach when hiring an intern. As a business owner, you should take all the same steps that you would with potential paid employees. Write an official job description; request resumes and cover letters from all prospective interns, conduct in-person interviews with the most promising candidates, and contact their references. Doing this not only familiarizes your interns with the “real world” process of getting a job; it also helps to ensure that you bring the best possible people into your business, even if only for a summer.

Be an Involved Boss

Interns are generally younger and less experienced than your regular employees. Part of the trade-off of having their help is a slight increase in your own involvement. For example, while you may have a very hands-off approach with your employees, you’ll need to take more time to mentor your interns. They’re at your business to learn, and you’re one of the most ideal people to teach them. Also, give them substantial tasks to complete – duties that will help them to learn and grow – rather than just basis chores like stuffing envelopes. Finally, be prepared to establish and enforce rules in ways you may not have to with your usual employees, especially when it comes to a dress code and internet usage.

For questions about your business insurance, Contact Consolidated today.