Hire for What You Need Not Because Your Intern Is In Need



Most people think that an intern must be a college student.  That is not true.  An intern can be a high school student, a college graduate seeking more experience in their field, a person who has had a string of bad luck, a parent returning to the workforce, a former inmate getting reacclimated to society, a professional who wants to change careers, a veteran return from deployment, or a retiree who wants to stay active.


I am a natural born helper (and a recovering enabler). Because my natural inclination is assist people on their success journey, I really dislike the hiring process.  I dislike hiring not only because I hear life stories that make me want to help a candidate overcome challenges or advance in their careers and I can’t hire everyone, but I am also able to recognize the things that are keeping some candidates unemployed.  This includes both employees and interns and it is the latter reason that cause me the most sorrow.


The employment process is an exchange.  You hire someone to complete certain tasks and in return they receive financial or occupational compensation. That it is! Because the exchange is clear and simple, you should only hire a person who can uphold their part of the arrangement. It is important to hire for what you need not because your intern is in need. Never hire based on sympathy or emotion.  Don’t hire someone when you believe that you are making the wrong decision for your company. You also don’t want to bring in someone who is a bad cultural fit or needs more hand holding than you can provide. Business is business and the wrong intern can be detrimental to your business.

  1. The wrong intern can damage your confidence as a manager.
  2. The wrong intern can slow processes and decrease efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. The wrong intern can negatively impact the attitudes of their teammates.
  4. The wrong intern can cause you to miss deadlines.
  5. The wrong intern can produce poor quality work.
  6. The wrong intern can ruin your reputation.
  7. The wrong intern wastes resources needed for additional training and recruiting.


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Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career development. She has a strong background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is an accomplished manager, professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of diverse work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.

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