Entering my senior year of college has me thinking about the “real world.” Am I ready? The classroom gives students a basic idea of what to expect once we hit the real world. What is even better is when we get to experience it first-hand. Yes, every business is different, but as I continue with my second internship, here are a few reasons why businesses should hire interns.

Take a Test Drive with a Potential Employee

What better way of seeing how someone contributes to your business than seeing it first-hand. Hiring an intern is like hiring an employee, but doesn’t have to include the long-term commitment. My first internship was created for one semester. During those 12 weeks, I helped set up a new website, create more of a social media presence, and create a quarterly newsletter. My boss was able to see my capabilities and what I had to offer to her business while I was able to learn in a hands-on environment.  More and more employers are asking for job candidates with experience. Using internships as a way to train candidates for essentially any position in a company not only helps the student, but provides the experience that employers are looking for.

You’re Working for Who?

Interns serve as walking billboards for businesses. While I know how great the business I am interning for is, many of my family and friends have not heard of Plaid Swan. I have my elevator speech ready when I go home and people ask me, “So what are you are up to this summer?” After I inform them what Plaid Swan is and what we do with a list of some of our clients, their reactions are all the same. “Wow, sounds like a great place to be!” Word of mouth is a great way to create buzz for businesses. It can also improve social media following so the people the intern knows can see what he or she is up to. Their loyal followers are now the business’.

So, You Don’t Have the Money?

It seems like businesses are hesitant to hire interns because they “just don’t have the money.” Don’t let money be the deciding factor in deciding to hire an intern or not. Back to my first internship example, my compensation was funded through the Great Lakes Career Ready Internship grant. There are different opportunities to make it easier for the business to offer a paid internship position. Although students are lucky to be offered an internship for a business regardless of pay or not, offering some type of pay is attractive to a student on a “college budget.” Contact a local university or college to see if they have any connections or programs set up. Either way, interns usually come at a lower price and are capable of producing quality work if given the chance.

Remember, We are Learning

Having an intern can be challenging for both parties. The classic problems are that there is not enough work (or the opposite and it’s hard to keep up), not enough direction, or not enough feedback on work. At my current internship It was made clear early on that everyone contributes to our overall success. I can honestly say that there is never a shortage on tasks and even when they are left wide open, feedback from my co-workers help steer me in the right way. The trick is to ask questions for help, but know when it’s appropriate. That was my biggest problem when I started because I was used to always resorting to questions, but as I become more accustomed to the company, my confidence grows. As my confidence grows, the more independent I am and my work gets better. Even though I would love to be the best right from the start, everything gets better after time, right?

Share your experiences with interns in our comment section! And don’t for get to subscribe to the Plaid Swan blog here.

Rachel Moser– Rachel Moser │ Public Relations & Event Intern