Posted June 04, 2011 by

Creative Ways To Pay Your Interns

Intern ProfitsLately, there has been a lot of buzz about the ethics behind hiring interns for unpaid positions. If you decide that you want to hire interns for unpaid positions then you must be able to pass the Department of Labor’s test for unpaid interns. However, if you decide that you want reward your interns for their work, then there are many more ways to pay them instead of just a salary. Some of the best alternative payment methods that many small business owners use are bonuses, perks, and training.

Sometimes when we hire interns, we decide to pay them with bonuses. Bonuses are a great incentive for the intern to work hard because they are tied to performance. The best part about bonuses is that they can be molded to any industry. If you are in real estate, then you can decide to give the intern a percentage of all of the real estate deals they worked on or closed. Another example would be giving the intern a percentage of the sales in a product launch. The main thing about giving bonuses is that they must be attainable. Giving an intern an unreachable goal and calling it a bonus is misleading to both the intern and the school and could get your small business in trouble.

Perks are a great form of payment because they provide valuable learning experiences for the intern. Sometimes when we hire interns, we will pay them with perks like inviting them to (and paying for) industry dinners or seminars. Interns love attending professional events for the experience, but they also feel like they are a valuable part of your small business. Another example of a perk could be paying for the intern’s transportation and parking.

Training and development is also a great form of payment. When hiring interns, we often make it clear that they will receive outside training from a third party to help their professional development. It is important to make a distinction between training that benefits the intern at your job and training that they can take with them through future endeavors. Whenever you use training as a reward for your interns, you want to make sure it will be something that will benefit them even after their internship is over.

When hiring interns you should remember that there are many non monetary forms of payment that you can give your interns. If you can’t afford paying your interns a salary, we suggest using a mix of bonuses, perks, and training to compensate and reward your interns for their efforts. The more value you provide your intern in exchange for their work, the more beneficial the internship experience will be for both the intern and your small business.


Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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