Why You Should Hire Interns for Your Office

We often focus on how the internship experience benefits the student, but in most situations, it works out in the employer’s favor, too.

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Andrew G. Rosen
When it comes to internships, we often focus on how the work experience benefits the student. But in most situations, it works out in the employer’s favor, too. Sure, a college-age intern is likely cheaper to hire than a full-time employee. But working with interns is about more than saving money.

Here are eight reasons why you should consider hiring interns in your office:

1. They bring a fresh perspective. The processes we use to accomplish tasks at work are usually the methods that were utilized by our predecessors and passed on to us. That doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do something, it’s just the way we've always done it.

Interns often come into jobs unafraid to question how things work or why jobs are performed a certain way, which can help bosses discover smarter ways to do those tasks. Their perspective as newbies is valuable, especially when it comes to identifying and even solving problems that go unnoticed by full-time employees.

[See 15 Ways Good Bosses Keep Their Best Employees.]

2. They’re at ease with social media. Interns tend to understand social media in a way many business owners and bosses can't, simply because young folks live and breathe networks like Facebook. To them, networking on online channels isn’t another time-consuming task, but rather part of the day.

As social media marketing grows and mobile devices grab a greater share of markets, you’ll need smart young people to show you the way. While you may not want a rookie to represent your company on social media, interns can help you develop a strategy or draft material for your approval rather than updating networks directly.

3. They’re productive. While many full-time workers toil in jobs that lack benchmarks, most internships have a start and end date. Because of that, interns tend to be more productive. Unless you count the rare promotion or job change, some employees work in what feels like an endless cycle, which can lead to career burnout.

4. They’re courteous. New employees can be shy, but since interns are trying to make a good impression in a short period of time, they’re often more friendly than their paid counterparts. Interns recognize that every hallway passing could be a future opportunity. It’s nice to work with pleasant people who understand the importance of saying “good morning.”

[See 6 Tips for GenY on the Job Hunt.]

5. They’re trying to impress. Remember when you wooed your first love? You went all out; flowers, chocolates, and dressing to the nines. Yet as the weeks and months and years wore on, you became comfortable, and the flowers probably became less frequent.

An internship serves as a trial period for both side. The intern may also be looking to set the groundwork for a recommendation or a full-time position down the road. That means they’re likely to put in a significant amount of effort to make sure you’re happy with their work.

6. They want to create their own footprint. College students constantly hear about making it in the “real world.” When interns step into the corporate environment, they want to prove to their parents, friends, and themselves that they can swim with the big fish. They’re determined to succeed, which directly affects the quality of work they’ll do for you.

7. They provide free advertising. Hiring interns is like bringing in a team of unpaid brand evangelists. These young workers are excited, and if you impress them, they’ll want to tell the world about their experience with your company. They’ll spread the good word to their peers about the job, which can help recruitment efforts.

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8. They learn quickly. Young minds are like sponges, absorbing information quickly. Young workers also tend to be good at multi-tasking. The time it takes to train an intern to perform a task is often a fraction of what it takes to train a full-time employee.

To make an intern’s experience worthwhile, you and your company will have to put time and effort into training them properly. But keep these often-overlooked benefits in mind, and you’ll see how you the experience works not only in the student’s favor, but in yours, too.

Andrew G. Rosen is the founder and editor of Jobacle.com, a career advice blog. He is also the author of How to Quit Your Job.