Members may download a single copy of our sample documents to use for your own purposes within your company. Please take note that your legal counsel should review all such forms and policies to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and that they have been modified to reflect your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Such samples may not be replicated in any other manner, by either members or non-members (e g. , to republish in a book or use for a business purpose) without receiving prior approval from SHRM On the page where the item is located, click the “reuse permissions” button to submit a request for that item.

The DOL introduced a seven-factor “primary-beneficiary test” earlier this year to replace its strict six-factor test for determining whether interns are employees. Because not all seven requirements must be satisfied for an internship to be unpaid, the new test is viewed as being more lenient. Rather, the DOL will consider the “totality of the circumstances. “.

Unpaid internship programs must still primarily benefit the intern despite the change. Take into account whether the intern’s direct and indirect benefits outweigh their contribution to the business, advised Donald Lawless, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Is the intern honing a skill in a work environment, or is the employer utilizing unpaid labor unfairly?

According to Rebecca Aragon, an attorney with Littler in Los Angeles, working with an educational institution can be particularly advantageous because the school will probably have a list of internship content requirements and skills that interns should master during the program. Schools will want to keep the program’s integrity and track results.

Working with a student’s academic schedule can be beneficial if an employer isn’t partnering with an educational institution, according to Lauren Sobaski, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Kansas City, Missouri. The degree to which the program accommodates the interns’ academic commitments by following the academic calendar is one factor the DOL takes into account.

Employers should create a one- or two-page internship plan, according to Lawless. It only needs to be a plan, not a curriculum, he said. Employers should specify the kinds of experiences they want interns to have and check in with them every two weeks to see if they are accomplishing the objectives of the program.

According to Sobaski, a for-profit company should start with the premise that interns must be paid before making a case based on the pertinent considerations, including the fact that the program is for the intern’s benefit, that it is educational, and that the business isn’t immediately benefiting from it.

Even if a court ultimately finds that the unpaid internship program was legal, litigation can be expensive for employers. According to Aragon, by the time an employer receives the court order confirming the validity of the program, the company will typically have spent more on legal fees and lost time for the HR department than it would have by simply paying the minimum wage.

Members may download a single copy of our sample documents to use for your own purposes within your company. Please take note that your legal counsel should review all such forms and policies to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and that they have been modified to reflect your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Such samples may not be replicated in any other manner, by either members or non-members (e g. , to republish in a book or use for a business purpose) without receiving prior approval from SHRM On the page where the item is located, click the “reuse permissions” button to submit a request for that item.

How To Hire An Intern Legally

How to hire an intern

You’re more likely to gain from everything an intern can offer when you have a well-structured internship program. You can add qualified candidates to your workplace by knowing how to create an internship program and, in particular, how to hire an intern. Here are the steps to take when hiring an intern:

1. Determine your internship program needs

Create your company’s internship program before you begin searching for or hiring interns. Establish the goals of your internship program, and collaborate with your supervising manager to ascertain your company’s requirements and solicit their input on the position description.

Think about the tasks you want a company intern to perform. For instance, you might ask them to do paperwork or run errands every day. Determine the project you want them to work on during their internship and how learning or acquiring the skills needed for the project can help them in their future career if you intend to offer a project-based internship.

2. Consider the hours you want them to work

Decide what kind of hours you want an intern to work. Remember that while paid internships typically give you more scheduling flexibility than unpaid internships, most unpaid internships follow the academic calendar. Consider hiring an intern who is still enrolled in school for five to twenty hours per week during the academic year or for twenty hours per week during the summer if you intend to do so. You can even hire a potential intern full-time if they decide to take a break from their academic studies.

3. Establish performance criteria

Establish performance standards, and remind the managers overseeing the interns of the significance of providing regular feedback. Reviewing an intern’s performance aids in their professional development and enables you to make clear expectations for them as well as what makes for high-quality work output.

4. Consider the details of your onboarding program

Make sure you have a comprehensive onboarding program. Your new interns are more likely to understand their role at the company and what is expected of them when you have a thorough orientation program. Additionally, it ensures that they start off at your business successfully and maintains consistency among the workforce.

Make sure your program goes over the fundamentals, provides information about the company, gives them a tour of the facility, and introduces them to their new coworkers. Additionally, it’s critical to let them know about company policies and the dress code. Overall, organize all the training you’ll provide your interns after they’re hired.

5. Assess your budget for hiring an intern

Determine your available budget before you start the hiring process. If you run a small business, you might discover that paying an intern the minimum wage isn’t always cheaper than paying a full-time employee.

It’s also important to remember that you might not need to pay your interns if the internship satisfies a requirement for college credit. Keep in mind that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has strict requirements for your internship. You can offer an intern a position as a volunteer who is not paid if your company is nonprofit. If your business is for profit, FLSA regulations apply and will determine whether you must pay your interns. In some states, you can substitute school credit for an intern’s volunteer hours when certain conditions are met.

Be sure to be aware of your budget in advance so that you can decide whether to offer compensation and, if so, how much. Additionally, be certain that you adhere to the FLSA internship rules and regulations. Before finalizing the specifics of an unpaid internship program at your company, speak with a local labor law attorney.

6. Appoint direct supervisors for each intern

Before you post a job listing for an internship at your company, choose a direct manager who they will answer to. The manager will give them assignments, assist them with the training process, respond to their inquiries, and give them performance evaluations. A supervisor you choose must be accessible to the intern, whether through scheduled meetings or otherwise.

7. Advertise your internship opening

Consider the various venues where you can advertise an internship opening at your company if you’re interested in hiring an intern. Be sure to take into account the channels that will enable you to contact the most qualified candidates. Here are some creative ways to promote an internship opportunity at your business:

Consider advertising your internship on a job site like Indeed. You can advertise your internship opportunity on a traditional job site and use the various applicant tracking tools to help you keep track of your outreach. Additionally, you can promote the internship on specialized job boards, such as those that cater to interns and students seeking internships.

You can connect with prospective candidates who are currently enrolled in school by advertising on college careers pages. If you post an advertisement on a college’s career page, take into account the abilities you are seeking in an intern and the institutions that provide students with these abilities.

For instance, if you’re looking for an intern for your law firm, look for universities that offer legal education. Inquire with a faculty adviser or the college career center about a particular department. They might be able to match you up with a student who meets your criteria. Additionally, a mentor can assist you in organizing the internship to give your business and the student the best chance of success.

Consider your current employees and the universities they come from. Ask the alumni associations of these universities or colleges if they would be interested in applying. Additionally, they might be able to connect you with some qualified candidates they know.

Utilize social media to promote an internship position at your business. By doing this, you can easily reach a large audience and encourage other users to share your job posting. Additionally, by using social media, you can inform people about other job openings in addition to spreading information about your internship program.

Ask your current staff if they can think of anyone who would be a good fit for the internship position you are hiring for. They might be able to recommend a former coworker who has the qualifications you’re looking for.

Attend job fairs to find new hires seeking internships to start their careers Attending a job fair can even assist you in promoting your business, which may lead to future intern candidates.

8. Find and hire qualified candidates

Once you’ve received a sufficient number of applications, review them all to identify qualified candidates. When reviewing their CVs and applications, look for an intern who is eager to learn. Additionally, look for candidates who majored in a field related to your business and who might be interested in working for you in the future.

As you select interns, it’s crucial to consider your hiring requirements in the future. Think about which candidates might add value to your company in the future and which ones you might want to consider hiring in the future. After interviewing several candidates, choose the intern who most closely matches your requirements.

Why should you consider hiring an intern?

Internships offer recent graduates and lower-level employees valuable work experience, but they also have advantages that many businesses can benefit from. Employing an intern, for instance, can enable your business to save money because it enables you to hire an entry-level or lower-level employee for less than you would pay a regular employee. Here are other reasons to consider hiring an intern:

Tips for hiring an intern

Consider ways to streamline the hiring process as you consider interns. Use these tips to help you hire an intern:

Follow a thorough recruitment process

Follow a procedure similar to the one you used to hire your other employees when you are recruiting interns. Make sure to read through their resume carefully, choose qualified candidates who have the necessary interest and knowledge, and conduct structured interviews to help you determine their skill and training needs.

Offer paid internships

Although you are not required to pay your interns, doing so is unquestionably advantageous. Offering paid internships demonstrates to present and potential employees that you value your interns enough to pay them.

Focus on their skills in the job description

Although most job postings concentrate on different job duties, internships frequently concentrate on a specific set of skills. Put the skills you’re looking for in an intern in the forefront of your job description. Since most internships are focused on a single project, take into account the specific abilities interns will require to finish the project.

Acclimate your interns to your company

Make sure to invite your interns to your company’s various events and meetings once you’ve made your hiring decision. When they participate in these events, they will gain a better understanding of your business and feel more at ease in their new role. The more comfortable they are working for you, the more they’ll contribute to your company’s success.

Regularly evaluate your internship program

Take advice from previous hiring blunders and keep enhancing your internship program. It also helps to get feedback from your interns. Inquire about their experiences during their internship and their opinions of your company. Future interns can benefit most from your internship program by providing feedback on how it helped them and how you can improve. Last but not least, be sure to regularly review and upgrade your program to ensure that it is advantageous for all parties.


What does it mean to hire an intern?

The State of California offers unpaid internships that give students practical experience. The division may give students internships as volunteers or for academic credit. Departments hire interns both in the academic year and over the summer.

How do you hire someone as an intern?

Since some interns may fall under that category, read our guide to hiring minors to ensure compliance.
  1. Determine Your Needs. An internship is generally project-based. …
  2. Find Interns. …
  3. Review Resumes & Interview. …
  4. Hire Your Intern. …
  5. Pay Your Intern. …
  6. Pros and Cons of Hiring an Intern. …
  7. Bottom Line.

What is the point of hiring interns?

Employing interns can result in beneficial work and learning experiences for your small business. Many small businesses find that these programs, as long as they are carried out with respect and honesty, are just as beneficial to the company as they are to the students who are preparing themselves for careers.

How do I find and hire an intern?

Here are some places to find quality intern candidates:
  1. Post on your company’s careers page.
  2. Share the job post on social media.
  3. Ask for referrals from family and friends.
  4. Post on career websites and internship boards.
  5. Attend job fairs.
  6. Reach out to local schools.
  7. Post on local outlets.

Do interns get hired?

The data showed that 37% of unpaid interns received job offers. Just 1% more graduates without internship experience received job offers, out of which 36% did.

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