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Hire an Intern

 

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 Contact the Tulane Career Center at 504.865.5107 or csc@tulane.edu for assistance with your internship posting or internship development.



Internship 101 - The 9-Minute Guide to Development
The sections below are designed to provide you with the basic information needed to get started in the development of an internship program. It is not designed to be an exhaustive list, as the design and implementation of an internship program varies from employer to employer. We hope that it answers your concerns and questions about internship development. Once you read through the material, please contact a Hire Tulane team member for additional information.

Hosting an Internship
Hosting an internship can be a great experience for both employers and students. A successful internship experience provides students with practical and meaningful experiences directly related to their career choice. It gives them an opportunity to "test-drive" and apply classroom learning in a professional work setting. Internships also provide the host employer with energetic, high-achieving workers that bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the organization. In fact, in a 2003 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an employer's internship program was identified as the top recruiting method for hiring new college graduates - 31.9% of interns were converted into full-time hires. To ensure that both parties achieve these positive outcomes, it is important that employers create internship sites with planning and foresight. This planning is a critical step in the management of student and employer expectations.

Internship Definition
An internship can be defined in many ways, but most have the following common characteristics:


  1. It provides meaningful, career-related work that extends the student's learning beyond the classroom.
  2. It is carefully monitored by a site supervisor to ensure there is ongoing communication and learning that takes place between the two parties.
  3. It involves "intentional learning" with specific goals and objectives that support the student's academic and career interests.
  4. It allows for sufficient time for the student to actively reflect on his/her experiences.



The setting may be a non-profit organization, a government office, or a private/public for profit business. The placement may be paid or unpaid, or for academic credit or not. These factors are determined by the employer and/or in collaboration with the student.

Difference Between an Internship and a Job
At first glance, an internship and an entry-level job appear to have many things in common. However, there are some important differences. Entry-level employees are often trained and expected to complete work tasks with little or no supervision after an initial training period. Interns, on the other hand, require mentoring and on-going coaching to ensure that meaningful learning is taking place on a continual basis. Some employers make the mistake of using interns to complete clerical and/or non-career related activities on a frequent basis. This strategy tends to backfire for all parties. Students become frustrated and unhappy when they discover that their experiences are not adding value to their career aspirations. Even worse, students tend to share their experiences with others, resulting in a bad reputation for the employer. It is highly unlikely that the employer will be able to recruit top candidates in the future.

Designing Your Program
Once it is determined that the employer has the resources and structure to support an internship program, the planning begins. Advance planning is one of the keys to a successful internship program. Employers should think of the internship program as an important way to introduce students to the profession, and to the organization. It is also a way to identify and come in close contact with potential full-time hires. The following six guidelines should help you get started in establishing an internship site:

  1. Create a Job Description: Just like with any open position, you should include the specific duties and projects associated with the internship. It is also important to include the timing (fall, spring, or summer), hours (part- or full-time), and compensation in the description. To assist you in the process, you can complete our online job posting form.
  2. Select a Site Supervisor: To ensure appropriate supervision, coaching, and mentoring takes place, interns should be paired with an on-site supervisor. The supervisor and intern should meet on a regular basis, and be available as needed during the experience.
  3. Develop Specific Projects & Assignments: Whenever possible, identify and delegate projects that have a definite beginning and end in the internship time frame. This structure allows interns to feel like an important and integrated team member of the organization. They will have concrete and measurable outcomes at the conclusion of the experience. For example, a measurable learning objective might be, "The intern will produce a marketing plan for ZZZ product line." While, an immeasurable learning objective might read, "The intern will acquire an understanding of our marketing concepts."
  4. Market Your Internship: Tulane Career Center will assist you in identifying the most effective recruitment methods to reach the students you are targeting, In some situations, an internship posting on our student website, www.hiretulane.com, will be sufficient, with students sending resumes and making direct contact with you. In other situations, you may want or need to participate in on-campus activities such as career fairs, information sessions, and on-campus interviews to reach the right candidates. Remember, with the increased popularity of internships and the tight job market, employers are competing against one another to attract the best candidates to their organization. It is imperative that employers understand the need to be proactive and involved to reach the best students on a university campus.
  5. Interview and Intern Selection: For the most part, the process for the selection of an intern is similar to the recruitment of an entry-level professional employee. Equal Employment Opportunity laws apply to the hiring of student interns. The interview process can be conducted at your organization or on the Tulane campus depending upon the strategies you are utilizing to reach the right students.
  6. The Offer and Timeframe: Because internships are extremely competitive in today's job market, a prompt response in the selection process is very important. Any delay or disorganization on your part may result in a top candidate accepting an internship elsewhere. Depending on the academic field, many employers recruit and make offers at least one semester prior to its beginning. In fact, it is not unusual for employers to recruit, interview, and make offers in the fall semester for placement the following summer.



Compensation Considerations
Whether or not a student is paid for an internship depends upon the organization and the field of study. There are a number of issues to consider in regard to internship compensation. First, not all interns are compensated for their work and experiences. However, it is generally agreed that the quality and number of qualified candidates may be dramatically decreased when an internship is unpaid. In fact, in some fields such as Management Information Systems or Engineering, paid internships are the norm. Employers that choose to compensate students generally pay ~75% of what a full-time entry-level employee would be paid.

Click here to view the U.S. Department of Labor's Fact Sheet:  Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Test for Unpaid Interns.

Academic Credit
Employers should understand that not all students can receive academic credit for their internship experiences through Tulane University. The decision to receive credit or not is the responsibility of students. They must check with their academic advisors and/or department heads before placement at an internship site. If it is feasible for a student to receive credit, a faculty member, department head, and/or advisor will be in contact with the employer to ensure that the correct paperwork (learning outcomes, performance evaluation, etc.) is completed in advance.

HireTulane or Faculty Recommendations
Often, employers expect Tulane Career Center or faculty members to recommend the "best" or the "top" candidates for internships. This process is discouraged for two reasons. First, employers know their organizational cultures and expectations best, not a staff or faculty member from Tulane University. The recruitment and selection of interns is best left up to representatives of the organization who have examined student resumes, conducted interviews, and checked professional references.

Secondly, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has established ethical standards for colleges and employers in regard to the employment process. Asking a staff or faculty member for the names of excellent candidates may seem harmless at first glance. However, there are some potential legal and ethical pitfalls associated with this strategy. If a staff or faculty member refers only a few individuals without publicizing the position to all students who may be qualified, the recruiting process is not one that is "fair and equitable" to all parties. One of the many purposes of Tulane Career Center is to provide the best career-related resources and opportunities to all students, not just those that are identified as the "best" or "most qualified." Those decisions are best left up to the employer.

Getting Started
Once you have read through our 9-minute internship overview, you are ready to get started. To help you sort through the next steps, please contact a Hire Tulane team member at csc@tulane.edu as soon as possible. They will assist you in getting started in the development of a successful internship program.

 

 

Tulane University Career Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5107 csc@tulane.edu