Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

When to Transition an Intern to an Employee

If you are a young and growing company, then you are well aware of the benefits you can reap from hiring an intern and having an internship program. Not only are they usually ready to dive right in with immense energy, but they can bring a ton of fresh and great ideas to the table as well. Furthermore, you can easily mold them into the future employee you might want to make out of them. Therefore as an employer or hiring manager, you should know when the time is right to transition from intern to an employee.

If your company does not have the resources, need, or room to turn a star intern to an employee, then the best you can do is provide them with a stellar letter of recommendation, or make a great reference when the time comes along. However, if you brought an intern in to test the waters on a new position and found that you could stand to have this position full-time you could gain much more from this internship program than you thought. Take a look at these tips on when to transition an intern to an employee.

Cultural Fit
Does this intern seem to fit in with the company culture you have? Some of the interns you have may just be there for the experience, the internship program and the extra space on their resume. That’s fine, but there may be certain interns that fit into the company perfectly and get along with the full-time employees you have. If you are thinking of keeping a few of your internship hopefuls on as full-time employees, then make sure they fit in culturally. Do they interact with the other employees or simply come into work, sit down and keep to themselves?

Company Values
Do they truly understand what your company is all about and what values you hold dear, or is this internship just something to pass the time? It may be difficult to get that across at first in your internship program, but it’s important. An intern that understands the reasoning behind all of the work you do will be more inclined to put their all into the internship and work hard- and they will likely be a great move from intern to an employee. You can ask them questions such as, “Why do you enjoy interning here at Company XYZ?” or “What do you hope to gain from this internship?”

Strong Work Ethic
It may be really easy for interns to slack off. After all, for many of them this may be their first internship or real-work experience. You can weed out the best interns by looking at their work ethic. Do they come on time to work everyday? Do they spend most of their time socializing with others or actually getting their work done? Do they take well to directions and want to be at the top of the internship program? A stellar intern will constantly be working to surpass the goals you set because they want to make a good impression and know in the back of their minds that there may be opportunity to move up in the company.

Inquire About Future Opportunities
If your intern frequently inquires about future opportunities in the company, then you know that they are not just here to pass the time. They want to know what the future looks like with this internship so they can put in that extra effort so you notice them. Chances are this intern is in it for the long-haul and would make a great addition to your team- granted their skills are on par.

It’s obvious that in order for an intern to transition to employee they need to have the adequate skills and drive. However, the above aspects are really important as well. If you are thinking of transitioning interns to employees, keep these things in mind and look at your interns closely.

Did you recently transition an intern to an employee? What aspects of their work did you look at? How did you come to your decision? Let us know in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Robin Iversen Rönnlund

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter