Hire an intern – post internship opportunities on WOU’s online jobs board, WolfLink
An internship provides hands-on learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable experience and professional connections in fields they are considering and provides employers with the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
To ensure that an experience is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the National Association of Colleges and Employers definition, all the following criteria must be met:
Source: Position Statement: U.S. Internships: A Definition and Criteria to Assess Opportunities And Determine the Implications for Compensation, National Association of Colleges and Employers
Experiences that Typically DO NOT qualify as Internships:
Internship vs. Part-Time Job: What’s the Difference?
What makes internships unique is the focus on student learning. This is an opportunity for the student to apply skills learned in the classroom or elsewhere, that tie to the student’s academic, career or personal goals. While the student might perform some roles that are not for their learning, the goal is for them to explore and practice their professional identity under supervision and with mentoring.
An example could be a student wanting to apply their writing skills and learn professionalism by writing press releases. The expectation is that the student needs some coaching and guidance and not be expected to accomplish the task perfectly on the first try. With gentle feedback, however, the final output will be professional, well written and offer a fresh, student oriented perspective that relates to your audience.
Employers who use interns are provided the opportunity to temporarily increase staff size and accomplish short-term projects at minimal costs. Interns bring a current knowledge base and new perspectives to the work environment. Employers can also benefit from an enhanced reputation on campus spread through word of mouth by satisfied interns and positive faculty relationships. A positive internship experience can lead to a potential full-time hire that requires minimal training, is able to take on more immediate responsibility, and stays longer with the organization.
Interns are professionally minded, they have goals, and they are eager to learn and apply their learning. This opportunity is more than a job; it is the beginning of their career and they will take their work more seriously than a part-time student employee might. An intern does not replace a person on your staff, but can accomplish projects on your to-do list, help design a program, or allow you to offer services differently.
The following criteria should be considered when constructing an internship position:
Developing an internship position will require some research and planning on your part to provide a well-rounded, positive, learning experience for the intern. Many internship positions are formed by identifying the following criteria:
Interns can be utilized to accomplish special projects such as creating promotional materials, conducting research, designing web pages and organizing special events and programs. The goals, deadlines, and outcomes for a project-focused internship should be identified so that everyone clearly understands the interns roles and responsibilities.
Some organizations routinely experience peak periods where additional staff are needed, or there is a continuous demand for staff due to limited budgets. Interns can help to alleviate some of these staffing concerns. For example, interns can be assigned to serve as public relations assistants, marketing associates or computer support staff. Since professional development should be the priority, it is inappropriate to assign an intern to a position that is strictly clerical in scope. While there are clerical duties associated with any position, these should not be the focus of the internship.
Once the internship duties have been identified, you should determine the time required to fulfill the duties of the internship. This includes the number of months and hours per week the intern will work.
Although you and your supervisor may see the need for an intern in your organization, you must also gain the support of other staff members who may be working with and mentoring the intern during his or her stay.
Once you have identified the scope of the internship and necessary resources, you will need to create a job description that explains the duties, skills, qualifications, pay, and time commitments of the internship. The completed job description will be used to begin the recruiting process. We can assist you with your hiring efforts through our recruiting services.
Effective mentoring strategies contribute to intern motivation and performance and enable interns to acclimate more quickly to your organizational culture. Successful mentors are strong listeners, offer frequent and honest feedback, work to understand the intern’s strengths and weaknesses, and focus on the intern’s professional as well as personal growth. Consider the following tips for mentoring your interns:
Providing performance feedback is critical to the intern and success of your internship program. The evaluation process can include post-internship surveys and exit interviews.
Policies and procedures regarding internships for credit, are somewhat unique to each academic department at WOU. Most programs have a designated course of 1-12 available credits. The program or designated faculty member stipulates prerequisites as well as a process for creating learning outcomes, reflection and supervision. In order for an internship or an experiential learning activity to be eligible for academic credit, several individuals must work together: the student, faculty advisor, and the site supervisor. Below you will find general guidelines on the role of host sites supporting interns receiving academic credit.
Recruiter/Host Organization Responsibilities
The U.S. Department of Labor has developed sevene criteria for identifying a learner/trainee who may be unpaid. These criteria are as follows:
All seven requirements must be satisfied in order for an intern to be deemed a non-employee trainee (exempt from FLSA minimum wage requirements).
If you are a nonprofit employer or government agency, consider providing compensation to:
Additional ways to compensate interns:
WOU hosts career fairs each year providing recruiters the opportunity to network with students and promote open positions and future opportunities. Learn more about our career fairs by visiting our events page.
Post internship opportunities to WOU’s online jobs board, WolfLink. All current students and alumni can view your postings.
We provide a number of opportunities for you to connect face-to-face with WOU students, including in-class visits, tabling, and information sessions. Learn more about scheduling and costs on our recruiting guide page.
WOU prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by WOU.