Interns are widely regarded as cheap labor, since you don’t actually need to pay them if you don’t want to. There are also other advantages to hiring college or online MSA degree students, aside from the fact they are inexpensive. Yes, interns can actually help your business by introducing fresh ideas and a new perspective on existing problems. The hard bit is finding the right people to work as interns.

What is an Intern?

Interns are typically college students doing bachelor degrees, but you should also consider masters students, such as those studying for an MSA degree online from Villanova University. They come to work for you over a summer, helping out in return for valuable workplace experience. If it all works out swimmingly, you can offer them a full-time position once they graduate (assuming there is a position available), but if your intern fails to make the grade, you can wave them off at the end of summer without giving it a second thought.

Internships have had a lot of bad press in recent years, but for many businesses, they are a godsend, so here are five tips to help you make your internship program a success.

Provide a Detailed Job Description

A detailed job description of what type of internship you are offering is essential. Potential interns need to know how many hours they will be expected to work and whether the internship is paid. If you are not intending to pay your interns, you can’t expect them to do jobs an ordinary employee would do, so consider offering a wage for successful applicants.

If you are hoping to attract a high-caliber applicant, a master’s student being a good example, you are going to have to make the internship very desirable. Be clear about what’s in it for the intern if they come and spend a summer working for you.

Take a Chance

Don’t automatically assume the candidate with the highest qualifications is the best man or woman for the job. Look at all of their attributes, including previous experience and personal qualities. Lesser-qualified students might be more productive and useful to the business.

Make the Job Interesting

You shouldn’t shield interns from all of the really tedious tasks. After all, part of the point of an internship is that you are providing real-life workplace experience and a reference if it all works out. However, consider giving your interns a ‘project’ to work on while they are with you. This is more motivational and rewarding for them.

Provide a Mentor

Do not drop your interns in a shark-infested pool without providing a life jacket. Interns need a mentor during their time with you. Choose a more experienced employee, preferably someone kind and accommodating, to help him or her settle in and navigate the tricky world of office politics. That way they have someone to ask when they need to know about dress codes, lunch hours, etc.

Lastly, don’t forget to give your interns feedback before they leave. If they were dreadful, tell them why and what they could have done to change things.