An internship involves a fulfilling program that Forrester™, the school, and student negotiate prior to the start of the internship period. An internship may be paid or unpaid and include “job shadowing” and “externships.” An arrangement that does not fall into this category is not a true internship and the employee must be hired and paid as an employee.
HR's Talent Acquisition Department coordinates all internships, both paid and unpaid. Management should coordinate with Talent Acquisition prior to initiating any internship.
Hiring managers must advertise and interview applicants for internship positions, unless coordinated by Talent Acquisition as part of its college recruiting programs. Recruiting and selection for these positions must also abide by all laws and policies regarding equal employment and nondiscrimination. Selection of interns because of family or business relationships is prohibited and may violate the Corporate Code of Conduct.
The key to developing a relationship with interns, while minimizing risks under wage and hour and workers' compensation laws, is to stick to the purpose of the internship: keeping the role related to the school work for which the student/intern is receiving course credits.
This policy applies to all interns of Forrester™ and its participating subsidiaries who are based in U.S. locations of Forrester™.
Applying the Policy
When using an unpaid intern, hiring managers must be able to show that the intern is being "compensated" by receiving academic credit, or gaining practical experience in the industry by the relationship of the work. To demonstrate that the work was for academic purposes and that the internship relates to an academic deliverable, hiring managers must adhere to the following:
- Obtain official documentation from the school prior to the start of the internship period. Understand the kinds of course work the intern is taking and tailor assignments so they directly relate to the intern's studies.
- Confirm with the school that the intern will receive course credits toward completion of a degree or certificate if the student successfully completes the internship. In this regard, obtain a letter from the school indicating that the work involved in the internship has been approved as relevant to the intern's course work.
- The school should require the student to prepare a report on the work experience and submit it to a faculty member. This reaffirms the educational purpose of the work. Ask for a copy of this report for your own records with a copy to Human Resources. This is important documentation that later may be needed as evidence of the educational usefulness of the work, if this is ever called into question.
- Identify the learning objectives before the start of the internship period. The goal of the internship should be to learn and not to make money for the intern or the employer. We should be teaching the intern a skill or providing knowledge about our business or industry.
- The internship relationship should have a defined beginning and end.
- The internship may require supervisory critiques, such as the completion of brief questionnaires furnished by the school.
- As a general rule, unpaid interns should spend no more than 50 percent of their time performing work ordinarily done by regular employees.
- Their assignment should be outside the scope of the written description.
- You should not guarantee unpaid interns a job upon completion of the internship or graduation from school as this tends to strengthen a claim that the intern was an employee.
- Intern supervisors or sponsors should take precautions to ensure confidential information is not accessible to interns without the intern’s execution of a non-disclosure agreement.