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May 10, 2012

Here are nine great reasons to bring young talent into your company as interns. They’re smarter than you think; just set them up to prove it.

#1 – Intern doesn’t mean “dumb kid”

Plenty of great talent has and will continue to be passed up simply because it comes in young packaging. It’s the great conundrum of hiring young people: employers want to hire experience, but experience comes with work, and to get work, it really helps to have experience.

But shouldn’t passion count for something, as well? Internships are a softer approach; you can give them a shot without over-committing. And you might just find the next great mind in your field.

#2 – Punks come in all shapes and sizes

But by hiring them as interns, you know if you’re getting a punk before you commit to hiring. Internships are a great way to learn more about applicants who may be extremely talented but can’t point to experience or references in your industry. Use the internship period to help them define a course in their careers and within your company.

With consistent feedback, an internship can serve as a great way to see what a student or recent graduate is capable of without the commitment of a full-time hire.

#3 – Build a talent pipeline

Interns are a fantastic way to build a talent pipeline at local universities. When you hire an intern you also tap into a network of their soon-to-be-graduating friends. Let interns recommend other interns, and try to build relationships with the career offices of local colleges and universities. You’ll find your talent pipeline for entry-level jobs filling quickly.

#4 – Build the employee you’d want to hire

Hiring an intern gives you an opportunity to teach the skills you’d like to see in a full-time hire. Interns aren’t expected to be fully-formed employees; that’s why they’re interns.

Use your experience to fill the gaps in their work history, and help them smoothly transition into full-time employees you’ll be excited to hire. What’s a better way to help employees do things the right way than to gradually teach them yourselves?

#5 – Get off your duff and start a new project

An intern or team of interns is a great way to get valuable projects off the ground. Use them to complete planning, competitive benchmarking, early promotional campaigns, or even prototyping a new app or product.

Capable junior or senior interns will appreciate the important project, and can definitely come through with a home run if guided correctly.

#6 – Software engineering interns can take on valuable roles

Engineering interns are probably the best way to bring engineering talent into your company. If your aren’t hiring them already, you need to start. The competition for talented software engineers is intense, and it pays to build relationships early in their careers.

Because of the nature of the job, these interns are going to be extremely talented in their own right. Handle them well, develop their talents, and you’ll find yourself with a serious leg-up on the competition.

#7 – Start really learning about your business

Data analytics projects are important but time-consuming tasks for growing teams. It might be hard to find a few hours to crunch customer data, but it’s a huge asset to understand your business from every angle.

Hire an intern, and hand them the keys to a shiny new copy of Excel. The more metrics you develop, the more effectively you can run your business. Period. Interns that are handy with spreadsheets can directly impact the bottom line.

#8 – Throw your sales team a bone

Sales interns can be a tremendous asset to your team. Let them make the first contact to customers, track entry-level analytics, and facilitate the sales process with email and social media.

These are things a solid intern are quite capable of doing, and they’ll take a big load off of your full-time sales staff. Building your sales pipeline with interns is a great tactic to quickly give your business a shot in the arm.

#9 – Bring in a new perspective

It’s great to consistently bring new perspectives to the table in solving the challenges of business. Interns are a great way to rotate talent through your company throughout the year, bringing fresh approaches to each problem.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.