A Nation of Interns: Should They Be Background Checked Too?
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Ross Perlin’s recently published book, Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and
Learn Little, examined the controversial nature behind the rising trend of exploiting
student labor in ways that are of little benefit to the student. As students and recent
graduates more aggressively pursue internships to pad their resumes, corporations are
reciprocally developing roles for these interns to fill. Many of these internships aren’t full
time or permanent. But as they become more prevalent—Perlin cites that over 50% of
Disney’s staff consists of college interns—the question arises: should interns be
background checked as well?
Common approaches of screening college interns include verifying the
information on their resumes, especially if that GPA looks impressively high, as well as
drug tests for internships in the government sector. But screening such as these can be
time consuming and costly, especially if your interns are far and many. Granted, the
forfeiture of hiring a bad intern is not as drastic as signing an unqualified employee on a
full-time contract. Still, as waves of qualified candidates roll in vying for internship spots,
employers are rethinking previously imposed limitations of interns’ roles, many times
allowing them to take on more enterprising tasks. And if interns are stepping up to the
plate and being held responsible for work comparable to their full-time counterparts,
shouldn’t their background and work ethics be monitored as a prerequisite, too?
Forty or fifty years ago, the word “interning” wasn’t as embedded in most college
students’ vocabulary as it is today. For today’s undergraduates, the word “summer” is
almost synonymous with “internship.” J. Isaac Spradlin termed it “The Evolution of
Interns.” And if the internship industry is evolving, background screening may be on the
spot for an additional niche to fill.
- hiring interns
- intern resume
- intern screening