Egress Solutions Product & Innovation Management Blog

Avoiding Hiring Interns For Your Small Business? Read this first.

By Mike Smart
Mike Smart
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As a small company we have learned the hard way that talent means everything. 

In this tight labor market, we have shifted to a balanced recruiting practice. Looking for experienced consultants and product management professionals while recruiting high potential individuals through internships 

For a company our size, the internship route can seem like daunting task and high risk. We had to invest a lot of thought into the goals of the internship. We sought to answer these and other questions.  


  • Is the internship an avenue to share knowledge and give young talent a unique opportunity?
  • Is it a way for our company to deepen our connection to the community?
  • Is it an effective means to attract potential new hires before they earn their targeted degrees and become a high price draft pick?
  • Is the internship a fixed term part-time or full-time arrangement that aligns with breaks in the school calendar or is it an on-going program?

Regardless of how you answer these questions your company will have to design and document an internship program. At the very minimum you will have to establish an effective on-boarding process

We use the internship for recruiting high potentials and building a better network connection. At this point we have limited our internships to a fixed term.

Bringing high potentials into our business has the benefit of validating some of the techniques and practices we use with current clients. We have also honed our skills as we instruct an intern on how to implement and use our techniques and methods.  

We don’t have a massive bench so, interns quickly become involved in real projects.  

We give a new intern a meaningful and high value project or sub-project to accomplish during their time with us. We share with them why this is important and how it fits into our business or our value chain.  The goal is to size the project so that it can be completed by the end of their tenure. We believe it is critical for the intern to see the impact of their efforts and to have ample feedback from colleagues along the way.   

We target only a few intern candidates and select the best that we can get. Since we are competing with global technology companies in our region for similar talent we have used talent management tactics that make since for us.  

  • We target graduate students; usually MBAs 
  • We leverage our relationships with regional universities 
  • We test and evaluate everyone 
  • We use group interviews

A potential intern may ask; what are the advantages of working for a small consulting firm over a global company. Our answer is, this is a unique experience in which you will work on real business problems with out clients who are the largest and most successful technology companies in the world. Your contribution is vital and has near term impact. 

We can provide a high-touch experience for an intern that will deepen their knowledge of the consulting industry and technology sector. The most important factor is the measure of their contribution to our business

The kinds of projects and programs our previous interns have been involved in and successfully contributed to include::

  • Redesigning a service offering to improve the UX 
  • Developing an assessment system that collects and analyzes quantitative and qualitative data 
  • Launching a marketing automation system.   

Finallyfor the right intern the opportunity to work in a small and dynamic and highly collaborative environment can provide insight and experience that is invaluable.  

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Are you a small business considering the value of using high potentials or an internship program? 

 I would like to hear about your experience using these or other techniques to strengthen your team.