Is hiring an intern right for my business?

Is hiring an intern right for my business?

When considering hiring a new employee, you would have identified the skills and expertise required by the business. An intern, on the other hand, may still need to be equipped with the right skills and experience but could prove to be an invaluable asset to the business if given the opportunity.

As with any sort of hiring strategy, employing an intern has its pros and cons. If you are considering hiring an intern, here are 3 things to review.

1. Do you have enough work to keep them busy?

You would be doing yourself, and the intern, an injustice if you were not able to provide them with enough meaningful work to keep them busy. Interns are there to learn, the last thing you want to do is to create an impression that there’s not much work to be done, or that they can come to work to watch videos on Youtube all day. If the intention is to possibly employ them permanently once the internship has ended, you want them to be able to perform tasks that will add value, and showcase their talent and potential.

2. Will you be able to provide the intern with meaningful work experience?

If the work being provided to an intern doesn’t challenge them, they will eventually lose interest in the job. Similarly, if an intern is only performing administrative tasks, the business would lose the valuable insight and perspective they might have received from the intern if they were involved in important projects and/or plans. It is therefore important that you carefully consider which tasks to engage interns in, ensuring that they have the right amount of both administrative tasks and meaningful assignments.

3. Do you have enough time and resources for training?

It is important that you have a plan in place before hiring an intern. This will allow you to evenly distribute time and resources to their training schedule. It might be a good idea to get all of the staff members involved, allocating a particular time slot for each of them to mentor the intern. Another thing to consider when hiring an intern is whether you would be able to provide them with their own working space, equipped with a computer, stationery and any other tools that an ordinary employee would require. With a well-structured plan and sufficient resources, the intern could surpass any and all expectations.

What are the pros and cons of hiring an intern?

Outlined below are some of the pros and cons that come with hiring an intern:


  • Hiring an intern can be a very cost effective way to hire resources in a fast growing resource hungry environment.
  • Interns are mostly energetic, enthusiastic and eager to impress.
  • They could liven up social media accounts.
  • Interns are naturally comfortable with the latest technology trends.
  • Many interns bring new technology skills to a business.
  • The company will gain a brand advocate.
  • Hiring an intern offers a fresh perspective and could present innovative ideas.
  • You can have the intern assist with administrative tasks that may have been piling up, such as archiving and filing.
  • By hiring an intern the company will improve its community footprint within local communities.


  • As an employer, you would need to ensure there is always a work plan in place to keep the intern busy and growing.
  • Some interns may display some signs of emotional immaturity.
  • As most interns have never had a formal job they might lack the understanding of the workplace culture.
  • Training an intern might take time away from important projects or tasks.


All things considered, hiring an intern in South Africa can be beneficial to your company if you are willing to invest in their training and development. By hiring a trusted intern, you will have contributed to bridging the skills gap in South Africa.

Many businesses have seen tremendous growth and value from hiring an intern. If recognized as an opportunity, hiring an intern could prove to be a cost-effective and valuable resource. Through a combination of on-the-job training and formal training, hiring an intern is a smart future pipeline resource strategy.

RecruitAGraduate offers companies an easier way of hiring an intern and graduates. We offer a full agency service for hiring an intern and graduates, or an interim CV shortlisting service, where the cost to hire an intern is just R5 000. It’s our way of taking the hassle out of recruiting a college or university graduate.

Load a job here

We have a fast-growing database of graduate and intern jobs in South Africa, as well as candidates from all over the country. We offer a number of online skills tests and competency tests that can be requested at the time of hiring an intern or graduate.

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