A Guide to Internship Recruitment

What is an internship?

An internship is a 1 week to 12 month work placement within a business. Internships can be unpaid or paid, are available across a variety of industries and act as a great way for graduates to gain experience and also bring fresh, passionate individuals into an organisation. Here’s how to create an internship recruitment programme or streamline your existing one. 

The Internship Recruitment Process

Recruiting the right intern can have valuable long-term benefits for your organisation. An internship is all about personal development and as such it’s useful for businesses to treat the recruitment of interns similar to that of employees.

Take the time to think about the role your intern will fill within the business and try to ensure that your advert contains the following:

    • The duration of the placement
    • The main duties of the intern
    • The number of projects an intern can expect to be working on
    • Any experience which is required or which would be beneficial to the role
    • Any offered salary or covered expenses
  • A clear statement regarding the likelihood of an internship developing into a permanent position.

To source your intern, place a well thought out advert on recruitment sites, with specialist graduate recruiters, on your own website and social media. By openly advertising a placement you’ll automatically widen your available talent pool and increase the chances of finding someone enthusiastic and passionate about your role and industry.

How to interview interns

Once you’ve received a number of applications for your internship, you’ll need to think about interviews, but how should intern interviews be conducted?

The interviewing of interns should be conducted in the same way as it would for employees.  However when interviewing potential interns do give extra consideration to your interview questions, many interns will have limited industry experience so it’s therefore much better to ask questions relating to employable skills.

Questions you might wish to consider asking include:

    • Why do you want to intern here?
    • In what ways was your coursework relevant to this position?
    • Tell me about your voluntary experiences
  • What are your goals after graduation?

In addition to these questions an interview is a good opportunity to find out how an intern might approach a particular project that they’ll be working on. By asking questions relating to a specific you can learn a lot about how an individual might approach a future problem.

Paying your interns

Do I need to pay my intern?

Yes. If your intern is classed as a worker then they will be due the national minimum wage as applicable to their age group. In order to be classed as a ‘worker’ interns must have:

    • A contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward, this can be for money or a benefit in kind such as a contract of work in the future.
    • The Intern has to turn up for work even if they don’t want to.
    • Their employer has to have work for the Intern to do for the period of the contract (contract does not have to be written).
  • The Intern isn’t completing work as part of their own limited company.

It’s also worthwhile noting that whilst you may not have to pay your intern, interns earning a wage offer higher levels of loyalty and commitment to their employer and are often also more productive.

National minimum wage does not apply when:

    • Individuals are of compulsory school age.
    • Work shadowing
    • Voluntary work
    • Ona government or EU programme
  • Are undertaking work placement for a period of less than one year as part of a UK education course.

Once you’ve decided to offer an internship placement to a candidate and they have accepted the position be sure to add your intern to your payroll system, so that your interns can receive their payment and any expenses each month.

If you want to hire interns or indeed if you would just like some advice, then please contact us to discuss your requirements.