January 22, 2013
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As you set new goals and move forward in your business, here is an idea to help your company grow: Hire less experienced but driven individuals. Hiring new interns not only brings new skills and fresh ideas to your company but it allows you to possibly scout new talent for your growing business.
While hiring talented, experienced employees unarguably contributes to your business, student interns also bring a unique set of strengths and benefits:
1. New skills
Technology advances at a rapid pace, and students tend to be among the first to use new media. I graduated from college six years ago, and the interns who have worked in my organization have taught me much more than I anticipated — benefiting my company and me personally. Whether it’s social media, graphic design, finance, programming, accounting, or marketing, interns can assist in getting work done in their area of study while exposing your company to new developments.
2. Fresh ideas
Employees who have worked together for years in an organization tend to think in similar ways. New individuals can bring fresh perspectives. Moreover interns who seek to add value to a company can also help companies streamline their activities and detect areas that need attention. For startups and small businesses in particular, having a new perspective can be beneficial to company growth and developing your company brand.
3. Low cost
Interns can be hired more cheaply than part-time staff because they lack professional experience and a degree, making it cost-effective to hire interns. Therefore, unpaid interns (seeking an exchange for college credit) or paid interns add value to your company while gaining experience and building relationships that could lead to future employment opportunities.
4. Scout talent
Hiring interns can give you the chance to find new talent and determine if an individual is someone you want to bring on more permanently. It also gives you the chance to showcase your company so the top graduates want to work for your business.
Where to Find Quality Student Interns
Hiring a great intern can be a bit overwhelming. I work with an organization called The League of Innovators in Columbia, Mo., which is home to three colleges. Our organization — which supports entrepreneurism in our community — and many of the startups we work with take advantage of the talent the schools bring to town. Each year 7,000 new students come into our city, and it would be a missed opportunity for the companies in the area to not connect to those students.
So how do you find the great students, and what do you need to look for?
1. Build relationships with professors in your industry
Professors are in a great position to get to know a student’s talent and work ethic firsthand. Professors also know who has potential to succeed, and the more you build a relationship with that professor, the deeper connection you can forge with their students. If you are a startup or small business, get to know the entrepreneurship professors who have bright students.
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