Ep. 6: Why Hiring Interns is Good for Business

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Ep. 6: Why Hiring Interns is Good for Business

On today’s episode we discuss the benefits of putting interns to work at your company and how this work experience helps push business objectives forward while providing an intern with an invaluable real-world work experience.

Transcript

Fletcher:

All right guys, welcome to our next episode.

Fletcher:

Episode six.

Stephanie:

Moving right along.

Fletcher:

Moving right along here. So, this is the Higher Count podcast. Straightforward recruiting advice for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. I’m Fletcher.

Stephanie:

I’m Stephanie.

Fletcher:

I’m excited to talk today about the concept of hiring interns.

Stephanie:

Hazing the interns.

Fletcher:

Yes. Hazing interns. I don’t if we could pull that off as much as you used to but yeah

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

Hazing them, yeah, I don’t know. Figure out good ways to do that. I know how we do it, We give them the jobs and the tasks that nobody else wants to do.

Stephanie:

Basically. All the boring stuff.

Fletcher:

Yeah. The really, really boring things, you know.

Stephanie:

Spreadsheets.

Fletcher:

Spreadsheets.

Stephanie:

I have a couple thing they can do.

Fletcher:

Yeah, good. You should get to work on that.

Stephanie:

Sorry guys.

Fletcher:

So this is, I don’t know, something that we’ve done … We’ve hired what? Six interns, seven interns over the years?

Stephanie:

Yeah. Two recently.

Fletcher:

Yeah, started yesterday.

Stephanie:

Yes. In fact, really recently.

Fletcher:

(Laughs) Yeah, yeah. So we’ve hired quite a few of them over the years. One of them actually became a full time recruiter at one point too and has continued her recruiting career. So, you know, it’s a great example of a place where somebody could come in as a college student, as entry level talent, who is eager, who is willing to do the tasks that nobody else in the office wants to do.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

But were absolutely critical to our success, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah. You have to start somewhere.

Fletcher:

You got to start somewhere, right? You know.

Stephanie:

Get your feet wet.

Fletcher:

You know, these young people, they need the experience. They need to get exposure to the business world. They need exposure to things that they like, things they don’t like. They need to do the dirty tasks that nobody else wants to do to earn their stripes. To be able to take the next step in their career. Nobody graduates from college after not working their entire lives and then just gets rushed into this, you know, amazing job, right?

Stephanie:

Right. That would be nice but it barely happens.

Fletcher:

Yeah, it doesn’t really happen. All though, it could, you know. We see this a lot in the engineering and the stem field, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah. True

Fletcher:

But only with the kids that got three internships. So, we see, you know, through the 8,000 plus interviews that we’ve done, we’ve seen a lot of kids who they only focus on their studies and they don’t really have very many extra curricular activities and they’ve never had any jobs of any kind whatsoever. And they may be remarkably intelligent but when they come out of college …

Stephanie:

Yeah, they don’t really know how to apply anything maybe because they never had any hands on experience.

Fletcher:

They never had to work at a job. They’ve never had to, you know, navigate with the IT department or even like set-up their payroll or set up benefits or they’ve never had to deal with a boss ever.

Stephanie:

Yeah, true.

Fletcher:

That’s probably a unique experience. Like just having to deal with reporting to somebody else, right?

Stephanie:

Right. The PC part of having a job.

Fletcher:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

Interacting with everyone.

Fletcher:

Having accountability.

Stephanie:

Yes.

Fletcher:

Accountability is different than being in school, right?

Stephanie:

I was thinking that too. Like showing up for work on time but they’re used to showing up to class on time but yes accountability is probably better.

Fletcher:

Are they? I didn’t show up until at least the third of my classes.

Stephanie:

You have a 15 minute grace period of something at school.

Fletcher:

Well in college, you kind of do.

Stephanie:

You don’t even have to go.

Fletcher:

You can show up whenever you wanted more or less. I would think. Maybe there’s a few professors who were pretty hard about these things but some were just like, all right well come and go as you please or don’t come.

Stephanie:

Right, it was up to you.

Fletcher:

It was up to you.

Stephanie:

Yeah, so accountability is a big factor in there.

Fletcher:

It’s a big factor, yeah. Using the tools, software, Microsoft Office Suite, you know. How many Excel tests do we [inaudible 00:04:26] here? People, they use these tools or computer skills. It’s not just the baby boomers who don’t know how to use software and use basic computer functions. You’d think young people, you know, from the age of SnapChat and Facebook and all those other social media things and iPhone’s, that they’re technology wizards naturally. They’re born that way. No.

Stephanie:

No.

Fletcher:

Absolutely not. Learning how to navigate …

Stephanie:

Selfie wizards maybe. (Laughs)

Fletcher:

(Laughs) Yeah, selfie wizards. Learning how to navigate complex software systems or even, you know, really easy to use software systems. I mean we’re learning how to use Hub Spot, it’s really easy, it’s very intuitive or it’s tricky in it’s own right, you know.

Stephanie:

Yes.

Fletcher:

You know, software and technology in this day and age can do so, so much for you so it’s really probably more of a question of learning how to use it right. Does the person have the propensity or the aptitude to adapt more. Interns get exposure to all these things. They are great for doing the tasks that are routine or are duplicatable, that are process driven. That gives them exposure to business. It also gives you an opportunity to create a relationship with these young people. Discover, you know, who might be the next top talent. These folks, you know, some of them can be very driven and very motivated. They’re just looking for an opportunity to do whatever it takes to prove themselves in the world, right? So, you can bring in an intern. You can have a really well structured program for them. So, you know, you don’t just hire an intern to go get you coffee’s

Stephanie:

Yeah, unless that’s part of the job every single day, you know. If you’re a movie director it probably is, right?

Fletcher:

Yeah, exactly.

Stephanie:

Otherwise, you want to give them more tangible activities that are going to help develop their skills.

Fletcher:

Otherwise it’s a really expensive cup of coffee.

Stephanie:

Yes, true. It’s true.

Fletcher:

You can take advantage of interns, their willingness to work, to accomplish real business initiatives, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

They should have measurable expectations.

Stephanie:

Just like an employee, right? Same kind of structure.

Fletcher:

Same structure, right? So, you want to set it up that way. It’s not just a time for some kid to sit around in your office and you know, pick their nose.

Stephanie:

Get you coffee.

Fletcher:

Get you coffee, right? Exactly. You know, I think the law is pretty straightforward on this stuff. I’m not an expert. Consult an attorney if you like but if you’re giving them work to do you got to pay them. Bottom line.

Stephanie:

You should pay them too.

Fletcher:

Yeah, you should, too but I mean, I think the law is pretty clear that you got to pay.

Stephanie:

I think so. Although, I think some college programs where it’s required as part of the curriculum, I don’t think … Like I wasn’t allowed to be paid when I did mine.

Fletcher:

Yeah, but there’s really fine line between work as well as learning, right? So, it has to be … If you’re not going to pay them, it’s really got to be a learning experience. So, then you might send them to get coffee, you might shadow people throughout the work day. It’s going to be more focused on their experience. Giving them exposure to something that they wouldn’t have exposure to and it should have a strong learning structure to it.

Stephanie:

Yeah, like an extension of a school program or something.

Fletcher:

Exactly. Otherwise, it’s got to be paid. Again, we’re in a marketplace. 3.8 percent unemployment. There’s more jobs than there are people looking. If you want the best talent, intern talent, you want kids that are actually future stars, then you might want to pay them, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

Because the ones that aren’t probably aren’t going to be the future stars, right. So, it’s a great training ground to bring new, fresh talent into your organization. Inexpensively get core tasks done that will give these people the foundation for either a career within your own organization or outside of your organization. So it becomes a win, win. I think we like to try to create it as a structure as a learning experience. So, we give them a ton of homework.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

Right.

Stephanie:

Totally.

Fletcher:

Typically we run people through a series of books on recruiting or on assessments or on sales and marketing. So, we have a few books that we walk them through. The Raddler Series, Hire With Your Head, all of his content. Top Grading, we’re big fans of. My Father, [inaudible 00:10:01] wrote, Hiring Talented Team Players, Guide to Getting it Right. So, we walk them through this content. Chapter through chapter. We have conversations with them about it. Help them sink it in. We also, then, let them try if they’re learning from these great thought leaders in practice. So, you know, it allows them to see one, do one and regurgitate what they have learned in different ways which is the basics of teaching somebody something, ultimately. So, it gets to be, kind of a win, win in every which way possible to assign those tasks. So, hiring interns, great way to find new talent. I strongly encourage it. It can be very expensive. I look forward to other peoples comments about this. I think it’s a topic we should pick up again.

Stephanie:

Maybe we should talk a little bit, how to find interns.

Fletcher:

How to find them, yeah.

Stephanie:

I mean, we talked in previous episodes about advertising and running a job ad or job description. So, we know that it’s important that we want to make it attractive and appealing for the intern. Where do you go to find an intern?

Fletcher:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

You know, do you just advertise on Indeed or a job board? Do you take another more specialized approach?

Fletcher:

Well, I think you’re the expert in this department.

Stephanie:

I am (Laughs).

Fletcher:

What are the top three things you would do if I told you go hire an intern tomorrow?

Stephanie:

I think it’s important to still, kind of, follow the same structure that you would for hiring an employee. So you do definitely want to advertise on job boards like Indeed, for example. Zip Recruiter. If you’re low on budget, try the free version of Indeed. I know that candidates, students, are looking for internships on traditional job boards. Social media because that’s where they all spend their time. Especially if you’re looking for a younger candidate.

Fletcher:

We found our last two on the traditional job boards I think.

Stephanie:

Oh really?

Fletcher:

I’m pretty sure.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I think Zip Recruiter is kind of like the … I almost feel like it’s like the millennial hub. It’s taken over. Indeed’s now the older …

Fletcher:

This whole one click apply deal. They can do it on their phones and like thumbs up.

Stephanie:

Super easy.

Fletcher:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

That’s the way it’s going guys.

Stephanie:

Definitely.

Fletcher:

That’s how people apply to jobs now. They just give it a thumbs up.

Stephanie:

Yeah, it’s like everything else. We want to make it super easy, super accessible. We want to speak to the audience. So the audience is this generation of, you know, using their phones for everything. They don’t have their resume and they’re not sitting at a desk with their computer, with their resume, typing out cover letters necessarily. They want to just swipe right or left and if they like a job or not. So, to be in front of them, you have to play that game. That and definitely the tried and true method would be to make friends with …

Fletcher:

The college professors.

Stephanie:

Yeah, the college professors.

Fletcher:

The departments. So, especially getting into those specialized industries, you know, the stem industries. You really want to build relationship with the universities who have strong programs there and get to know those professors, the department heads and stay in touch with them. I mean, you got to have constant contact with these people so that they can be promoting your jobs for you.

Stephanie:

Yeah and I mean they typically always have a resource to their students especially if they require internships. I remember when I was in school they had a pamphlet of 200 different internship sites to choose from. With all the contact info so the students would actively seek those place out. They were on the recommended list.

Fletcher:

Well, if you’re an educator, your job is to prepare young people to get careers in a particular type of field.

Stephanie:

Right.

Fletcher:

So, you’re helping them to fill part of their mission by reaching out to them and making yourself available and creating meaningful internships for these young people.

Stephanie:

Yeah, definitely.

Fletcher:

And ones that give them both real life experience as well as, highly educational. Key is, create a really well thought out structure. Set of measurable expectations. Just like you would with any other job. Be really crystal clear. This is not a time to have an overpaid or underpaid coffee gopher. Take advantage, these kids will get stuff done. Another part of this is, when you’re hiring for these kids, young people, you don’t just take anyone that seems okay. You know, treat that assessment process the same that you would with any employee because this person has the potential to be a future rockstar for your organization.

Stephanie:

Right, yeah.

Fletcher:

Don’t be so short sighted about this. I mean, this person could be the future of your organization.

Stephanie:

Once the internships over, they turn into a full time employee and you’ve all ready done your due diligence in the beginning.

Fletcher:

And it cost you significantly less to train that person than as if you were to bring them in full time, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

And that person saw that as a win, win opportunity too. You know, everybody’s going to be looking at what’s in it for them. You want to create an opportunity for them to learn but then also create that opportunity for them to come on full time. You know, after the fact. So, interview them, check their references, verify that they have the right core potential and aptitude to actually be a strong performer because otherwise it could be a waste of you time. I mean, just the pure time that you’re going to spend having that person shadow other people or showing them what to do or how to do a task is a distraction from your business in a way. So, you definitely want to make sure that have a purpose and that’s there’s a mission and a goal and a structure so you’re not wasting both your employee’s time, existing people’s time as well as the interns time.

Stephanie:

Right.

Fletcher:

You know, they’re short on time too. I mean they got four, maybe five years to finish school and they’ve got to get some valuable experience in a short period of time so that when they hit the real world they have an opportunity to take on more significant professional jobs.

Stephanie:

Yeah and chances are they have a lot of other offers too.

Fletcher:

Yes. Yes, if they have any degree of pedigree they have other offers so compensating them goes a long ways and maybe position yourself as the best opportunity. Being organized, having your act together, demonstrating that you have a plan for them. People sniff things out that don’t look organized, right?

Stephanie:

Yes.

Fletcher:

That’s cool. Well good, this is a great topic. It’s a great place to find eager, up and coming talent. We look forward to your comments, suggestions, rebuttals or if you’re interested in discussing or flushing out a problem you’re having in your recruiting process, happy to come online and have that conversation here. Share that with everybody else. Our contact information is info@thehiretalent.com. It’s again, info@thehire H-I-R-E talent.com. Or call us directly 714-582-2730. Once again, it’s 714-582-2730. We look forward to chatting with you on the next episode folks.

Stephanie:

All right. See you.

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