How To Manage Interns At A Small Startup....#Internship #Startup #Success #SmallBiz

By: Monica Aguilar

As a start-up the idea of having productive talent working for minimum to no wage at all is extremely compelling. Hiring interns at a start-up is a bit different than hiring at a big company. To make sure that the relationship is mutually beneficial for both parties here are a few ideas to make sure both you and the intern get the most out of the experience.

1) Be specific about what the internship will offer

  1. What kind of skills should the intern already have?
  2. What can they expect to be doing during their internship?
  3. What level of commitment and hours do you expect from them?

Be sure that you’re not hiring an intern to do busywork! By only providing an intern with tasks that a paid employee can do potentially puts your company in jeopardy with labor laws. In addition, this is also an opportunity for your company to shine! With social media it is all too easy for someone to write an informal review of what it’s really like to work within your start-up. Demonstrate your start-up is truly committed to not just the success of the company, but also to one of its most valuable assets: the employees.

2) Have a formal performance management process

Start by having a formal onboarding process to formally introduce the intern to the company. Let other employees know who they are and what they are there to help with. Keep everyone on track by having a dedicated intern manager (a.k.a. mentor) to help guide them during their time at the company. Keep in mind that the experience you create for them can directly affect the value you receive from them in return. Make sure it’s a good one.

3) Don’t treat your intern like a full-time employee

Don’t hire an intern as a project leader or head developer. Chances are it will cost your company more in the long run because you will not receive the professional level of work that your company desires. An intern is there to help assist and support your team, not be the spearhead of product development. 

Also, if your intern is only there part-time it is critical to assign them tasks that they can complete within that time-frame. Make sure your expectations are realistic and their scope of work is within the parameters of their job description.


By keeping these ideas in mind, your start-up is well on its way to creating a productive and positive experience for everyone involved.