How to Create an Internship Program + Template

Whether you have worked with interns in the past or are looking to build out a new program for your company, this content provides you with a quick overview and easy-to-implement strategies to create an internship program. Bookmark this page for easy access.

Do I Need An Internship Program?

The first step in creating an internship program is to demonstrate the benefits and value a junior, temporary employee can bring to your company. Some of the universal benefits of internship programs are:
  • Interns can complete work for you.
  • Your organization can find potential future employees.
  • Members of your organization can enhance their managerial skills.

To demonstrate the benefits you will receive from an intern, make a list of projects you and your coworkers spend time on that do not fully utilize your skills. If these tasks can be completed by a college student, than they are areas where you need an intern.

To help determine whether you need an intern and develop a business case for starting an internship program, download our fill-in-the-blank Business Case for Hiring Interns Template.

Do I need HR to create an Internship Program?

Hiring an intern can be different than hiring a new employee. Interns can be compensated in experience, college credit, or money. Parker Dewey firmly believes that all interns should be paid for their work. The Department of Labor also has strict guidelines that must be met if a for-profit organization does not pay its interns. Interns can be added to your internal payroll system, but in some cases, like Micro-Internships, you can hire an intern as a contractor and pay through invoicing. Solutions like this alleviate HR burdens so you can focus on getting work done instead of paperwork.

How to Draft an Internship Job Description

Your internship job description should begin with the job title and the name of your organization. You should include whether the position is remote or, if not, the location of the internship. You should include a clear description of the main responsibilities, tasks, and projects of the internship. If the internship or projects require certain qualifications, especially technical proficiencies, list all of them clearly. Some of the most important skills an intern should possess are research skills, ability to communicate, problem solving, and aptitude to quickly get up to speed. If you have preferences, such as student’s major or year, list those. Include whether the internship will be paid, unpaid, or for college credit. You should also include contact information, e-mail address and phone number, for whoever will be responsible for interviewing and hiring.

Where do I find Interns for my program?

After you have created an internship job listing or a project description, you will need to post it somewhere qualified applicants will see it. Most university career centers will have or use a service which connects students to internships, so start by contacting your alma mater as well as local college and university career centers. You can also post internships on your website, and other job sites. If your internship has a fixed length or is a short term project, post it on Parker Dewey has the largest network of highly motivated college students and recent graduates who are excited to complete professional assignments.

How do I choose an intern for my program?

When choosing your intern from a set of applicants, there are many factors that will determine the right fit. While a student’s GPA shows roughly how successful they have been in their courses, it doesn’t tell you much about the student’s professionalism, communicativeness, or grit. Focus on the students’ relevant experience and interests. If you can, have the students answer questions about their skills, knowledge, and interest in the position. If you post your project on Parker Dewey, our team will help you find a great match to complete your project.

How Do I know if My Internship Program is Working?

In order to evaluate the success of your internship program, you need to reference the reasons you took on an intern in the first place. Using those reasons, you can determine whether or not your internship was a success, and if it wasn’t these goals should point toward future areas of improvement. At the end of the internship consider the following questions:

  1. Did having an intern help me use my time & skills better?
  2. Did my intern produce work that helped further our organization’s goals?
  3. Did my staff or I develop our managerial skills?
  4. Did we hire any of our interns for permanent or recurring positions?
  5. Did our intern provide any insights that we would not have learned otherwise?

If the answer to most of these questions is “yes,” then your internship program can be considered successful. 

Additionally, it is a best practice to evaluate interns on a project basis to provide coaching and feedback. Download your very own Internship Project Evaluation Scorecard to help evaluate intern performance in six key areas. Along with these measures, you should discuss with your intern how their projects impact the company, how they feel about the projects they’ve worked on, and if they have any thoughts on how to improve certain processes.