Arguably, having an internship programme interns hirings the best way to tap into young talent, however intern hiring is no cakewalk. While young interns have immense potential, and they can do wonders (Internshala (InternDay - Internshala's 3rd Anniversary) itself is a perfect example of what interns can do, as entire company has been built with the help of interns only- Internshala hired its first full time employee two years after it was started), finding right ones is still a challenge.

Looking at hiring interns? You are likely to face certain situations:

1. Irrelevant applications: In a country like India, where millions of students look for internships, but there are very few opportunities available, you’re likely to receive irrelevant applications, sometimes in galore- just ignore them.

2. No applications/ a very few applications: It mostly happens if you post your requirements towards the end of academic calendar by when most of the good students have already landed an internship – always plan in advance, and post internship openings at right time (For summers: February last week or First week of March is ideal time; for winters: September last week or first week of October is right time)

3. Assessment: a painful task: Yes, it of course is. Especially when shortlisted students do not notice your mail, and you have to do the follow ups on applicants. But to save on this short term pain, do NOT relax your assessment norms – a rigorous assessment process will not only help you find students with right skills but more importantly with right will.On our part, Internshala will be working on providing you with in-built assessment tools which will make your life easier.

4. Students dropping out after confirming: This again is a very serious problem, and the most painful one. Well, you can’t read somebody’ mind, but this problem can be mitigated to an extent if certain precautions are taken-

While interviewing a candidate, take enough time to explore things about the applicant: What other internships has she applied to? When will results of others internships come? What is her long term career goal and how does this internship fit with that? What would her ideal internship be like? etc. Read 5 questions you must ask while interviewing an intern (Five questions you must ask while interviewing a prospective intern).

Always keep a backup plan- while announcing result keep 2/3 (or in proportion of number of openings) candidates in waiting. And if somebody drops out, extend offer-letter to the candidates in waiting.

Communicate regularly with the selected candidates in case if the joining is a bit late. For example, you could ask them to spend sometime going through your website and recommend 3/5 things they would like to implement at your business if they were the CEO.

Always issue a formal offer letter, and ask selected candidates to send back a signed copy of the same. Please ask Internshala if you would like us to help you with a template offer letter.

Please always notify Internshala if a student drops out after accepting the offer letter. If a student is at fault, she may be banned from applying to other internships. You may also register a complaint against such students with the Training & Placement cell officer of the institution.

Interns coming on board is not final. It’s now employers responsibility to make internship a win- win situation. If you expect a great work from interns, make sure that you’re providing a great experience and mentoring too. Their role and tasks should be well defined; and it should be as aligned with his/her career interest as possible so that interns put their best, learn and also have fun.

We sincerely hope the simple tips above help you run a great internship program. Please feel free to comment if you have more to add.

From India, New Delhi

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Hiring an intern can be tricky for small companies . It can be seen a waste of a resources because you spend most of the time trying to train your student interns.
Here is a checklist you need before you go on a hiring spree for your intern .
- Understand what areas you need your intern for ? Speak to team members to understand what areas the intern can add value .
- Understand if hiring an full time employee for that specific role can be cheaper than hiring an intern for a short period of time.
Here's is the link to a very informative article that I've been referring to - Hiring an intern? Here's 13 things you need to know

From India, Mumbai

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