What are Interns anymore?

What are Interns anymore: Are interns simply another word for Employee?

After sprinting across the street, spilling her triple espresso all over her business attire, complete with the five o’clock wrinkle, Ashley finds that the art store she was scheduled to visit closed a mere five minutes ago. All she has to make is one more sale, and then she can get the job of her choice. Just one more sale, she tells herself.

 Ashley Ostin has been selling advertisements for a company all summer, being paid on commission. What you wouldn’t know by this picture is that Ashley is an intern. She is an intern, yet she is working as if she is a full-blown sales person.  “I was basically running the show,” Ashley said, describing her fulfilling summer as a sales intern.  “I wasn’t doing your basic 9 to 5, make coffee runs, that kind of intern thing.”

If Ashley is an intern, where in the world did the classic stereotypical donut purchasing, coffee ordering, paperwork-filing intern go? Gone with the wind is the old fashioned intern and enter the modern intern, going by the title of employee.

When interns are hired, no longer are recruiters looking for someone who can adequately complete mundane tasks, but for fully capable starting employees.

 Nick Sand, a recruiter at a small company, looks for the same type of employee when searching for interns and searching for full time employees to fill positions.  He claims that while he searches for the same qualities in employees, he gives interns more benefit of the doubt.

“If an applicant does not have that much experience, but is applying for an internship, I usually do not think twice about it,” Nick explains. “But if a person comes in applying for a full time position with out a few notches on their belt, then I consider things differently.”

Experience speaks louder than words when applying for full time and intern positions. Laura Brack, a fifth year at a Midwestern university, is amidst her third internship. She has interned for smaller sized companies, as well as a big nationally known corporation. In the different settings, she has found the role as intern to be very different. “When I interned at the smaller companies, I found I was treated as more of an equal than an intern, “ Laura says.

“The small companies needed me to do more, therefore, I was more of a beginning employee than an intern,” Laura says.

 The smaller the company, the more responsibility, and the less of the classic intern duties and more full time employee tasks. However, there are certainly perks of interning with a larger corporation, job security being one of them.  There is always that hope that by interning, one will land a full time position in that same company. Laura is waiting on an offer from the corporation for which she has been working.

“One of the reasons I took the job is because I knew how frequently they hire their interns as full time,” she said. “There are so many companies where when you are done, you are just done, with no possibility.”

 Ashley, while not having the promise of a full time position with the company she interned for over the summer, they promised her even more. “Their main goal is to get you a job after graduation, ” Ashley said.  “The stat for my internship was that 97% would get the job of their choice.”

While interns are simply employees, the stigma of the “useless intern” syndrome when in doubt still applies, even amongst interns themselves. Internship experiences will forever be compared to the classic image of the coffee fetching tortured soul.


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