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How To Set Up An Internship Program In Your Startup

How To Set Up An Internship Program In Your Startup

denzilDenzil Lewis
A die-hard web enthusiast and an alumni of IIT-Kharagpur, Denzil is heading the Marketing operations at Switch Idea.

Opening up internships is a great way in which startups can get quality work done on short term projects and also scout some great talent for eventual inclusion into the company fold.

While quite a few companies have existing internship programs, there are a whole lot of companies who are unsure as to how they can implement a successful internship program which can work in a recurring way and thus benefit the company.

This post will help those of you who are looking to explore this internship segment and give you a roadmap to implement a successful internship program at your company.

Here are some points to consider while setting up your internship program:

Do you really need interns in your company?

Internships are short term vacancies which are typically filled up by college students during their summer or winter breaks. They help students to get a first hand view of the professional experience and learn some great practical skills. Similarly, employers benefit from the infusion of young blood into the company. These freshers can give companies a fresh perspective and may also inspire you to create a great product feature/service. Additionally, hiring interns can also be a cost-effective exercise for a company, especially a startup.

The first thing for a company to figure out is whether creating an internship program is a feasible objective in the long term and what are its benefits.

Get the whole company onboard

After you have established the feasibility of implementing an internship program, it is important that you bring the whole company onboard with this idea. This is critical because the program will only work well, if everyone in the organization warms up to interns. If they do not, then interns will not feel welcome in the company and might not be very productive.

Read: This Is How Google Treats Interns

Figure out compensation

We, here at Switch Idea, believe that all interns should be fairly compensated for their efforts. We advise all companies to create a meaningful compensation plan for interns. The compensation can be a monthly stipend or perks and allowances (travel & food) in addition to a recommendation/certificate after the internship is over.

Allocate responsibilities

Plan in advance when it comes to which role you want interns to fill up in your organization. Maybe this summer, you have a huge marketing campaign that is coming up. You will need help with that and it thus makes sense to hire marketing students as interns during that period. Keep your employees (in this case Marketing Execs and Managers) in the know and also delegate the internship management responsibility to one of them. Take this step after evaluating whether said employee has the time or resources to manage a bunch of interns during that period.

Reach out to students

As the internship period nears, post your opening on Switch Idea. We would recommend that you do this at least a month in advance. Make sure you explain the exact role and responsibilities that a student will have during the internship. This is important because when students come across your posting they should be very clear about what they are getting into when they apply for an internship opportunity.

Evaluate the candidates

As the applications pour in to your opening, you should look up every student application carefully and scan for the exact skills that you are looking for. Switch Idea makes it easy to check a student’s skills upfront when they apply. After you have shortlisted the candidates who match your criteria, you may choose to message them using Switch Idea’s messaging feature or you can simply call them using the contact information that you get from the student’s Switch Idea profile.

Interviewing interns

While conducting interviews, please make sure that you also do a background check on every individual that interests you. You can check call up their references or college to verify them before taking their applications forward.  Switch Idea will soon be launching a feature which will make this easy for you. We will be verifying students in our user base ourselves and be indicating this in the student profiles. You can thus rest assured that any student who comes through our platform with a ‘Verified’ badge will have all their details authenticated.

We hope you follow these steps and set up a successful internship program in your company.

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