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Companies that simply view interns as cheap labor could be missing out on a great opportunity, according to a Bloomsberg Businessweek “Today’s Tip” post by Jim Belosic, Founder of ShortStack.

Instead, Belosic recommends that employers look at internships as an“extended interview.” After all, how often does a candidate seem great in an interview but turns out to be a big dud when actually on the job? Through an internship, a company can evaulate qualities they can’t determine in an interview, such as attention to detail, enthusiasm, and follow-up, in addition to basic skills, before hiring them permanently.

Belsoic says this is a win-win for both the company and the candidate.  While the company gets to conduct a months-long extended interview, a candidate who is just starting out can pick up valuable real-world experience.

Of course, as we have previously reported, there has been a government crackdown on unpaid interns, so companies will most likely have to pay interns for this “extended interview.” They may want to consider bringing interns in on as contractors through a recruiter like you and outsourcing their employment to a contracting back-office, such as FoxHire, so they don’t have to take on the typical employment hassles and costs.

If companies look at interns as more than just cheap labor, they could very well find their next star employee among the ranks of these young workers.

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