Over the couple of years I have been working on a side project in the tech industry. One of the things that struck me was the hiring of interns, both paid and unpaid.
I’m now aware that interns are being hired in other industries such as legal, politics, journalism, and marketing. However I have never come across the use of interns within the mining industry.
Why hire interns?
I was recently talking to a marketing consultant about tips on tech marketing and one of the suggestions she made was to hire an unpaid intern. They would do much of the legwork of finding sales contacts and establishing contact with them.
My first question was why would anyone work for free? There are three main reasons:
For school credit; as part of a course credit in college or university where an internship is part of the program requirement.
For experience; it is difficult to get a real job without experience and so the internship teaches, builds experience, and establishes a portfolio of work.
Networking; building up industry connections can possibly lead to permanent work down the road.
Its the right thing to do
At first I was taken aback at the thought of asking someone to work for my company for free. Are we that cheap?
Thinking about it further, if you are paying someone a salary the expectation is that they should be somewhat skilled at their job. I have come to realize that the internship may actually be a win-win for both parties.
Its a win-win
The company gets a chance to learn about potential employees and also gets productive service from them.
The intern gains employment experience and learns about the realities of the business world. Students have already paid the schools to teach them. Now businesses can help teach them more, but at no cost. It’s a win-win for both.
So how did our unpaid intern search go? We posted a free ad on indeed.ca. Within 72 hours we received over ten replies, of which only 2-3 came close to meeting the actual qualifications. Some of the applicants had no relevant experience at all.
Possibly in today’s job market people are willing to work for free on the hope that they can get some experience, which will hopefully lead to a permanent job in the future.