Remember the movie “The Intern”? In the film, a 70-year-old widower named Ben becomes bored during his retirement and decides to apply for a senior citizen internship program. The program allows him to apply for an internship at a successful fashion eCommerce company where he interviews with its founder Jules, who is significantly younger than he is. Despite his age, Ben gets the job and proves his worth to the company by working hard and establishing a strong camaraderie with his fellow coworkers and Jules, making him an invaluable member of the team.
It has often been said that age is nothing but a number, but when we think of interns, the image of fresh-faced undergrads comes to mind much faster than that of someone older. The truth is you can be an intern at any age, but going into the process when you aren’t a student is a bit of a different experience for both you and your employer. From a graduate in their late twenties to a senior citizen, here’s why bringing on these professionals has more benefits than you think.
They give and take experience as a team
When Ben interviews for his internship, we find out that he spent 40 years working for a phone book company where he started in sales and advertising and eventually worked his way up to become the Vice President of print publishing. Impressive resume aside, he doesn’t have a Facebook account until Jules shows him how to set one up.
BBC recently made a case for the rise of the middle-age intern, where professionals decide to get back on the career track by accepting unpaid positions. On the surface, an unpaid internship may seem like the last thing someone with an established portfolio needs, but many arguments can be made in favor of the connections and experience that the position gives you. Additionally, hiring an older intern better positions you to give and take as a team. Together, the intern and boss both have more and less experience than each other within their respective field. As such, they can teach one another valuable lessons and learn from each other to benefit the company in the long run.
They’re hungry to learn
Just because you’re older and wiser doesn’t mean you want to stop learning! Many older interns are ready to pivot their career in a new direction and as such, they need training and guidance within a new field. Seek out interns that possess a can-do attitude and are willing to roll up their sleeves and get down to business with the rest of the team. They already know that the internship isn’t a cushy VP role — and that doesn’t bother them one bit.
They value loyalty
When a company is good to you, employees want to be good to it back. And while many workers may not spend 40 years working for a business like Ben did, those who work for businesses that they believe in will stay put — even interns! When interviewing potential interns for the role, give them a substantial slice of your company culture and discuss opportunities for growth as an intern and even as a potential employee. You never know; they could be just the right fit that your company is looking for.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.