Internships a Path to Full-Time Jobs . . . and Conversion Fees?

For those at the beginning of their careers, internships may provide more than a resume boost.  An internship could prove to be an audition for a full-time position with the company providing the internship. A recent CNNMoney article cited results from a National Association of Colleges and Employers that found companies turn 58 percent of their interns to full-time employees

If you have not previously considered placing interns, this news may make you want to reconsider. If you place an intern with one of your clients on a contract basis, you could earn a nice conversion fee if the client likes the intern and decides to hire that person direct.  

But aren't a lot of internships unpaid? Yes, but that could (and should) be changing.  As we reported last year, the Department of Labor is cracking down on illegal unpaid internships. The agency has provided six criteria your clients should refer to before they attempt to bring on an unpaid intern:

  1. The internship, even though it includes 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;
  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
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

So if your clients are using unpaid interns, you may want to inform them of these criteria and convince them to hire paid interns on a contract basis when the internships they are offering don't meet these criteria.  With graduation season upon us, now is the time to strike while the crop of candidates is hot!

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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