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Posted On January 23rd, 2018 by Crowded Ocean

The Pros and Cons of Startup Interns

As a startup CEO, if your first thought when you hear the term ‘intern’ is ‘free labor’, think again. Interns—whether graduating college students looking for that first job or students getting credit—are a great resource. But only if managed directly and continuously. And there’s the rub.

Any intern, even those who may have interned before at another company, have to learn two things: the job and how the job fits into the company’s overall objectives. The latter is perhaps a one-time lesson from you, the CEO; the former is an ongoing process.

And that’s where the problem lies. Startups, for the most part, run lean and mean, which means that resources are scarce. If tutoring/training an intern is a quick, one-time process for your precocious self-learner, then great: you’ve got a good resource. But if it takes repeated training and coaching, think again.

More importantly, many key startup employees are inner-directed personalities (in other words, nerds with limited social skills). Which means they’re not the best trainers or coaches. Which can lead to frustrated interns who are either non-productive (don’t know the job and just churn) or requiring an ongoing level of maintenance that the startup can’t afford.

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