5 Tips for Hiring and Managing an Intern

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Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $500k in startup discounts and promotion to 2,000 newsletter readers. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.

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fnMentoring with LookSharp co-founder: Hiring Interns and Entry-Level Employees

Nathan Parcells, co-founder of LookSharp (powers InternMatch), led an fnMentoring session for fellow members on hiring interns and entry-level employees. We’ve pulled five points from his session here– a few tips that can get you started:

1. Go beyond academic credentials.
Screen candidates with the expertise and academic credentials you are looking for, but pay attention to extra curricular activities as well. Extra curricular activities can help you get a full picture of the candidate and see whether they are a culture fit. Candidates who are self-starters and passionate about what your startup does will stay motivated and add the most value to the company. Nathan noted that a great intern can add $50K worth of value to your startup, while a mediocre one can cost you $25K.

2. Use educational compensation as a selling point.
Keep in mind that interns are looking for a chance to grow. In fact, 55% of surveyed millennials want access to executives and mentorship. Speak to your startup’s vision, your team’s experience, and the relevant skills that a candidate could learn through the internship.

3. Clue them into the culture.
Give the intern an idea of your startup’s culture: working hours, dress code, communication style, etc. This will not only help them succeed and fit in, but also enhance the company culture.

4. Assign a project.
Project-based internships tend to be more successful than giving the intern random tasks. Train your intern and set them loose on a project that they can run with during their contract. Projects give your intern a chance to learn, and leave your company with something substantial you can potentially use long-term. Nathan shared that InternMatch’s first design intern designed a resume template that has 1.5 million views today–a project that the intern quickly knocked out!

5. Use interns for succession planning.
If you are grooming an employee to become a manager, give them an intern to test the waters. This allows your employee to get a chance to interview and train someone else, setting them up to take on more responsibility.

Big thanks to Nathan for sharing his expertise with Founders Network! You can check out more of his advice regarding successful recruiting  and intern compensation here on Founders Edge.


For the opportunity to access FN’s many benefits, including an invitation to our next fnMentoring session, and opportunities to share your expertise with the community, learn about our approval process here.

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Read more by Founders Network

Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $500k in startup discounts and promotion to 2,000 newsletter readers. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.

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