What If I Can’t Hire My Intern As An Employee?



An internship program is both a smart short-term and a smart long-term business investment. Developing an internship program is an innovative way to solve the following business challenges:

  1. High Staff Turnover
  2. Unfilled Vacancies
  3. Employees that are a Culture Mismatch
  4. Retiring Employees
  5. Employee Disengagement
  6. Employee Advancement


I have worked hard to create a culture where employees and interns feel valued and appreciated and where skills and interests are nurtured. I have seen great success when I intentionally spend time developing my team.


You already know that I believe it is important to pay interns for their time and work. If you cannot afford to pay your intern an hourly wage, I suggest providing a stipend for transportation or meals. Most interns hope that once their internship ends they will be hired as a permanent employee. Hiring an intern as a permanent employee has many benefits but isn’t always possible.


  1. Serve as a Reference:

I am filled with pride to write letters of recommendation or serve as a professional reference for great professionals. Last week I provided professional references for two former interns and had lunch with a different former intern who wants to return this fall for a repeat internship.


  1. Share Their Resume with Your Network:

Statistics show that networking is the best way to land a new job. If you can’t hire your intern as a permanent, maybe someone in your professional network can.


  1. Hire Them as a Consultant:

I would love to be able to hire most of the interns that I have supervised but its not possible for a variety of reasons. When possible, I do hire my former interns for various consulting projects. I have hired interns to chaperone field trips, do data entry, assist with program evaluation, and perform research among other things.




Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a travel and cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career advancement. 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 Enterprises, a full service training and professional development company.

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