Creative business consultant Zena Bruges shares the common errors employers make when hiring interns
Creative business consultant Zena Bruges shares common errors employers make when hiring interns
For any creative business, interns are a great way to inject new ideas and talent into the business. And for the young and aspiring, being an intern is the perfect way to get some real-life work experience. Plus, let’s face it, it’s where many of us started out.
But there are some pitfalls to hiring interns, and as a small or large employer, the last thing you want to do is earn bad press by hiring someone and failing to treat them properly, either financially or operationally. Getting a reputation for taking advantage of interns could reflect badly on your image as an employer and as a business, meaning candidates may be less attracted to the company, and clients may in turn be deterred from buying from you in the future.
So, to make sure you follow best practice and stay on the right side of the law, I’ve outlined the four pitfalls to avoid when taking on an intern:
1. Get the financial facts
Don’t assume that all internships are unpaid. In fact, according to employment legislation, there are just four types of internship that can be unpaid: student internships for less than one year, school work experience placements for the under 16s, voluntary work for a charity, or work shadowing an employee where no real work is carried out. Unless your internship falls under one of these categories, it needs to be paid.
2. Minimum money
Failing to pay your intern the minimum wage is another common error. Wage rates change every year and so, of course, does your intern’s age, so it makes sense to check rates yearly and pay your intern appropriately. If you fail to do so, you could face hefty fines or even end up in court, and of course, risk damaging your reputation.
3. Know the law
You might think that employment legislation doesn’t apply to an intern, but once an intern starts doing paid work for an employer, they may qualify as an employee and therefore be eligible for the same protection.
4. Don’t settle for second best
Another common error is just accepting the first person who applies for the role. You have every right to be picky when taking on an intern, whether they are paid or unpaid. Don’t accept them if they are not up to standard, and make sure you interview and select the most motivated and deserving candidate as you would a normal role.
Avoid making these errors and who knows, your next intern might just end up becoming your star employee. What’s your experience of hiring interns? Do you agree with Zena’s advice? Tweet your thoughts to @ComputerArts using #DesignMatters