Employer's Guide

I. What Student Employment option best fits your organization?

There are many different job types and worker experiences that can be established within a company; all with varying and unique expectations and requirements to moving further along within an organization. Determine what the best fit for the organization is by considering the following definitions:

Volunteer– A person who willingly performs a service without pay or credit in order to support a cause.

Part-time job– A person who is hired for employment but carries fewer hours than a full-time employee. Part Time employees work in shifts, however, they have the same responsibilities and job level as full-time employees.

Internship- Can be a one-time assignment performed during a specified time frame and/or involved in day to day business tasks and should offer either a salary (for profit organizations) or stipend (for non-profit organizations) and will typically qualify for academic credit when coordinated with a professor in advance of the work.

II. What is an Internship?

Internships provide real-world experience to students looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines Internships:

“A form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills developed in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths: and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”

III. A Closer Look at an Intern

An internship is any carefully monitored, meaningful learning experience in which an individual has intentional professional goals and reflects actively on what he or she is accomplishing throughout the experience.

A typical internship:

  • Includes developing intentional learning objective goals that are structured into the experience and supervised by a professional with relevant and related background in the field.
  • Promotes academic, career and/or personal development
  • Includes learning objectives, observation, reflection, and evaluation
  • Balances the intern’s learning goals with the organization’s needs
  • Typically lasts three months and is part-time or full-time
  • Involves industry related and soft skill development.
  • Is monitored and evaluated for academic credit.
  • Provides adequate supervision in a reasonably safe environment with the necessary tools to perform the learning goals agreed upon for the duration of the internship.
  • Is a paid position. Employers are encouraged to pay at least $12 dollars per hour at minimum.

Internship is not:

  • Free help.
  • Meant to replace an employee.
  • More than 20% busy work (filing, covering phone, errands).
  • A Personal Assistant.

IV. What are the Benefits for Employers?

Often times an internship is the ideal fit for an individual and employer. Developing an internship program is an excellent strategy for investing in your organization’s future successes, often leading to discovering future colleagues and leaders.

  • Identify and retain talent for long-term employment
  • Hire skilled labor in a cost-effective way
  • Gain fresh ideas and perspectives
  • Increase company brand awareness
  • Assess the fit between the organization and the intern
  • Create a recruiting edge on campus
  • Support student education and professional efforts
  • Supports the College of Business at TTU

V. What are the Benefits for Students?

It is important to understand what can motivate a student to pursue an internship. Knowing what a student wishes to gain from an internship program can better help a company structure one to both fit the company’s and student’s academic and career goals.

  • Receive course credit though the College of Business
  • Ensure the assignment of real world projects and tasks
  • Provide projects that complement academic programs and/or career interests
  • Give broad exposure to the organization (remember: this is a chance for them to personally develop and explore career possibilities)
  • Provide adequate, reliable, and regular supervision and mentoring
  • Create a professional network
  • Industry relevance
  • Real world experience in a professional environment

VI. The TTU Interns Website

ttuinterns.com

The TTU Interns program features an easy to use website to facilitate the promotion of internships to students within the College of Business. Companies post internships on the website, allowing students to learn more about the internships and apply online.

To get started using the website, follow these steps:

• You register for an account as a representative of your company on the website. If your company has multiple departments seeking interns, each department may have a representative register for an account.
• To post an internship, you log into the website and go to the “Post an Internship” page.
• Once approved by the College of Business, your internship will be published.

Some of the additional features the website includes are:

• Companies can post multiple internships on the website
• Past internships can be duplicated to new semesters

Students that have registered for an account will be able to apply for internships on the website. The College of Business will select the top applicants to forward to your company.

VII. Designing an Internship Program

Structure

It’s important to not only develop a plan for the internship, but also to document the plan. You may write as detailed a plan as you like, but you should summarize key components of the plan using bullet points. Establish goals and objectives you wish for the Internship to accomplish. Your plan should include:

  • Set how long the program will last. The average internship lasts 8 to 12 weeks.
  • Decide what time of year the program will take place (spring, summer, or fall.)
  • Set how many hours per week the intern will work
    • Depending on the season, the intern will need to be either part time or full time. Summer interns are likely able to work full time. Part time hours better accommodate work during the school year.
    • Insure that the program will provide flexible work hours that accommodate the intern’s class schedule.
  • Have goals in mind that you would like your intern to meet during the program.
  • If the program is not focused on a single task or project, determine the timeline for each segment of the program.
  • If your plan is to convert interns into employees, develop a hiring strategy that occurs the end of the program.

Your plan can incorporate experiences beyond the actual work. This could include training, social events and opportunities to network with executives. Best practices for social events include encouraging interns to network among themselves to share experiences. Invite your intern to organization-sponsored events. Some organizations host an end of the program experience, such as an outing or a lunch/reception with upper management.

Compensation

Wages for most internships are usually determined prior the intern’s start date. Interns who are compensated should be paid through W-2, not 1099, due to student tax and liability issues. Consider paying consistent wages to all interns within each department.

You will need to compensate your intern by either a salary (for profit companies) or by a stipend (for non-profit companies). If you are considering between paying an intern by salary or with a stipend, it is important to know if the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act applies to your organization.

The U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act restricts employer’s use of unpaid interns. This Act applies to business that have two or more employees directly engaged in interstate commerce as well as annual sales of $500,000 or more. If you find you cannot pay your intern, you must meet these six criteria for determining trainee status (as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor):

  1. The Internship, even though it included actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training, which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The Internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and

The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spend in the internship.

VIII. Develop a Recruiting plan

Writing an internship job description is essential to recruiting the right individual. Write the description in clear, everyday language that will help the student understand the position and company’s expectations. If the opportunity offers a broad exposure to many elements in your organization, be sure to state that in the description. Interns appreciate knowing the expectations upfront.

See Appendix B for Suggested Job Description format.

To make your internship more attractive to the best student applicants, it is suggested to include the following:

  • Why will students want to apply for your opportunity over others in the industry?
  • Does your opportunity illustrate how it will be a unique experience?
  • Do you fully define the benefits and incentives your organization can provide?

In order to insure you receive the best pool of applicants, please post your positions as soon as you know you have an opening. Companies in most business disciplines begin recruiting for summer internships in September or October of the preceding year, or an approximate 9-month lead time.

IX. Selecting Your Intern

To help decide on the right intern for your organization, identify the profile of the desired candidate:

  • What discipline within the College of Business would best fit your company’s needs? Accounting, Management, Information Technology, Economics, Finance, and Marketing are offered at TTU’s College of Business.
  • Undergraduate or graduate student.
  • What additional qualifications will the candidate need to succeed during the internship?

By going to ttuinterns.com, you can post any internship opportunities your company has to offer and only students from the College of Business will be able to apply. These applications are vetted by administrators of the College of Business and the top applicants are given to your company.

When you feel you have found the candidate that is mutually beneficial for the organization and has the appropriate experience, contact the Internship Coordinator at the College of Business. Just as in a permanent full-time job search, students may be applying and interviewing for internships with multiple organizations. Thus, it is best to make an offer as soon as a decision has been made and let other students who applied know that the position has been filled. At this time, a work schedule should be set, compensation agreed upon, and appropriate paperwork completed for human resources.

When contacting the selected student, it is suggested to use an offer letter to communicate the Internship program and what is expected of the Intern. Attached is a sample offer letter to give to the selected intern.

See Appendix B for Sample Offer Letter

X. Assign an on-site Supervisor

An often used definition of a mentor is a “trusted counselor or guide.” It is a formal relationship where a more experienced person, a mentor, confers with a less experienced learner, a mentee, to assist in developing some particular skills or knowledge that is helpful in achieving the goals of the mentee. The relationship can be for an agreed upon time or can last as long as it is beneficial.

The Roles of a Supervisor can typically include:

  • Taking part in an intern’s application, screening and interview process
  • Conducting intern orientation
  • Developing learning goals
  • Regular face-to-face meetings

Remember, a supervisor will be a good resource for questions, evaluations, feedback, and guidance and the inclusion of one in the Internship program can lead to the success of the program as a whole.

A supervisor can also monitor the intern’s progress by:

  • Make sure you are aware of what is happening with their daily tasks and/or project.
  • Keep in mind that this could be the student’s first work experience. When work is assigned, make sure it is given with a detailed explanation of expectations. A few extra minutes of explanation will pay off later when the intern produces good work independently.
  • Help your intern set goals for completion of various tasks, including daily, weekly and monthly goals. This will help establish a solid work ethic for the intern.

See section XIII for more instructions on evaluations throughout the internship program

XI. Intern Orientation

The sooner your intern understands your organization and how it operates, the sooner he or she can assume assigned responsibilities and make valuable contributions. Expectations can vary based on the size of your organization, but, in general be sure to provide appropriate upfront training by discussing the following:

  • Corporate orientation (as you would with a new hire)
    • Dress code
    • Work hours
    • Any safety regulations and requirements
  • Overall responsibilities
  • Provide a tour of your facilities
  • Introduce any appropriate personnel

Employers, intern’s parents and colleges/ universities should be aware of insurance considerations:

  • Accident/liability insurance: provided by the intern/ parent/ guardian (some organizations may require the school to provide liability insurance.)
  • Automobile accident insurance: provided by the intern/parent guardian.
  • Health/ Life insurance: provided by the intern/parent/guardian.
  • Worker’s compensation: does not apply for interns participating in non-paid internship experiences, but if injured at the internship site, should be covered by the intern/parent/guardian personal insurance. (Paid internships require that students be covered by worker’s compensation.”

It may be helpful to walk through with your intern goals, projects and/or assignments the intern should expect to complete during the program. Attached is an internship memorandum of understanding that may help narrow student’s focus for the next few weeks in the internship.

See Appendix B for Internship Memorandum of Understanding

XII. Course Credit

For the College of Business, all internships are course credit eligible.  If the student is interested in receiving course credit, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the designated professor on campus and it is the employer’s responsibility to participate in both a midpoint and final evaluation.

XIII. Evaluate the Intern’s Progress Periodically

An internship can only be a true learning experience if constructive feedback is provided. An effective evaluation will focus on the interns’ initial learning objective identified at the start of the internship and will occur at least twice during the Internship term. A midpoint and final evaluation are required. Supervisors should take time to evaluate both the student’s positive accomplishments and areas for improvement.

During evaluation meetings, the students may:

  • Report on a project’s status
  • Learn how their work is contributing to the organization
  • Discuss areas needing growth and development
  • Get insight about what work lies ahead

See Appendix A for Required Internship Evaluations

XIV. Conduct Exit Interviews and Follow-Up

Conducting Exit Interview is perhaps the most valuable aspect of the program because it provides valuable feedback to upper management for future planning.  Remember to:

  • Conduct an exit interview to determine if interns had a good experience and ask what he/she gained from the experience.
  • Follow up with the College of Business Intern Coordinator and designated professor to discuss further thoughts about the success/improvements the internship program should have in the future.