Many growing businesses utilize an internship program to expand the team roster at little or no cost. In some cases, an internship is an ideal solution for short-term workflow management. During busy times, you take on an intern, and when things slow down, you have options you didn’t have before.

So, is an intern right for your business? Perhaps, but you should know both the pros and cons before taking on the responsibility of an intern:


An internship gives you the chance to assess the skills and work values of a potential new hire. Interns may be college students or recent college graduates looking for experience and greater employability for well-paying entry-level jobs. A paid internship may provide an accurate view of the work performance of a potential paid employee.

Internships create loyal employees. Bringing in a recent grad on a paid internship, and then offering that intern a full-time job with a bright future, creates loyalty among employees who appreciate the company that gave them a chance when they needed it.

Good interns come with new ideas and the latest best practices. They might have the latest industry or technical information on everything from just-in-time-ordering to Internet marketing.

You, the manager, mentor, department head, CEO or other co-worker, have the opportunity to see – real-world and real-time – whether an intern would be a good fit for a full-time job. This can save a great deal on recruitment costs, especially for entry-level openings.


An intern isn’t always committed to long-term company success. Your company wants a helpful internship that fits into existing company operations, but the intern’s objectives may not align with yours. They may just want to expand their résumé to look better when applying for a real job (not necessarily at your firm).

Lower productivity is a real negative. It’s not reasonable to expect a recent graduate with little or no real-world experience to deliver the results of an experienced, long-time employee who knows how the job is done, from operational procedures to acceptable practices. An intern has a learning curve to overcome, and you may not see an increase in productivity for several months.

Training takes time. An intern needs to be trained to become a productive member of the staff and that means another employee is pulled off important work to get the intern “up to speed ASAP.”

It can be expensive. A paid internship affects your company’s bottom line, and an unpaid internship still costs company time, which adds up to money as well. Make sure you get your money’s worth when you take on an intern.  


Be fair with interns. Your company gets free or low-cost work, and the intern gets to “see behind the curtain.” However, if your college-educated intern is sweeping the floor and taking out the trash, you aren’t being fair to that individual who’s interning to get their foot in the door and network.

Look for an intern who has skills your company needs. Spend time training that intern in return for free or low-cost work. And use each internship as an opportunity to assess the work quality of a potential team player.

Internships have their pros and cons. Be fair in testing the skills and work ethic of interns, and never promise the possibility of a full-time job unless that possibility exists.

The most successful internships are open, honest, and 100% transparent.