Hiring & Onboarding

When to Start Looking for Intern

Ideally, internship job descriptions are posted at least 2-3 months prior to the proposed start date with a one-month window for candidates to submit applications.  It is always helpful to consider when students are required to finalize class schedules and registration deadlines.  Typically, students need to have secured an internship by the last week in August for Fall semester credit, the second week of January for Winter semester credit, and the first week of May for Spring/Summer semester credit.  

Handshake & Job Posting

Posting your opportunities through our online recruiting system, Handshake makes your listing accessible to all GVSU students and alumni – and it’s fast, easy, and free!


To post and have your listing approved by the GVSU Career Center, employers and postings must comply with the following standards:

  • Provide complete organizational contact information (organization name, address, organization URL, organization description, contact name, organizational email address for contact, contact phone number).
  • Adhere to NACE Professional Standards for University Relations & Recruiting.
  • Conform to applicable Equal Opportunity Employment laws and related legislation.
  • Postings with an expiration date more than one year after the initial posting date will not be approved.
  • To ensure maximum exposure, we recommend expiration dates between two weeks and six months from the initial posting date.
  • No fees of any kind may be charged to students or alumni.
  • Job opportunities related to the use or distribution of recreational or medical marijuana or related products will not be posted or approved (view policy).


Interviewing candidates for an internship is no different than interviewing candidates for permanent positions. It is an important step in the recruitment process as you want to make sure the intern will provide you with the skills and abilities you’re looking for.  To reduce bias in your interview and hiring process, follow the best practices found here.   

If you have never conducted an interview before, you’ll find a sample outline below that includes helpful tips on using the interview to find the best candidate.

  • Open the interview
    • Provide an overview of the interview
    • Indicate that the student will have an opportunity to ask questions later
  • Ask questions and gather information 
    • Tell me about yourself
    • Why are you interested in this position/organization
    • What are your short and long term career goals
    • Behavioral-based questions:
      • Tell me about a time you:
        • Had to deal with a conflict
        • Worked as part of a team
        • Used creativity to solve a problem
        • Dealt with a difficult customer/supervisor/colleague
        • Managed a stressful situation
        • Handled multiple tasks simultaneously
    • What are your strengths/weaknesses
    • Specific questions related to technology/methodology used in your field
    • Questions to avoid:
      • How old are you? Do you have a disability? Are you married/have kids? What is your nationality?
  • Allow for the candidate to ask questions 
    • Be prepared to answer questions about the position, expected training, department structure, department services
    • Assess the quality of the student’s questions
  • Give information 
    • Discuss student's availability for the position to ensure your needs are met
  • Wrap-Up 
    • Briefly describe the next steps, giving an estimate of when the student will hear from you
  • Evaluate the candidate against the requirements for the position
  • Follow up with candidates promptly
    • Present offer to the candidate that you have chosen
    • Send rejection letters to students who do not match your requirements

Hiring International Students

The most common visa types employers will see on college campuses when recruiting international undergraduate or graduate students are the F-1 and J-1 visas.  These are for either full-time or internship opportunities.  

The student holding F-1 status for a full academic year and in good academic standing may work off-campus.  Such work authorization is granted for two reasons: 

  • The student has sustained unforeseen economic hardship
  • An employer is unable to hire a U.S. worker for the position and wants to hire the student.  In this case, the employer must file an attestation that it has recruited unsuccessfully for 60 days and will pay the student the same or higher than the prevailing wages for the job in that geographic area

The student may not work for more than 20 hours per week when school is in session, but may work full time during holidays and vacations including breaks between terms, provided the student intends to register for the next school term.  

Curricular Practical Training:
An F-1 student may perform curricular practical training prior to the completion of the educational program as part of their educational experience.  The INS defines this type of training as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through agreements with the school."

Post-Completion Practical Training:
This is temporary employment directly related to the student's major area of study that takes place after the student completes a full course of study.  Authorization for this training may be granted for a maximum of 12 months of full-time or part-time work.  Those on a student visa can only gain authorization once for this type of training.  

*Information above provided by Rochelle Kaplan, general counsel for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  Shared with permission of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the copyright holder.  

For more information on these and other legal issues related to hiring, please visit www,naceweb.org.  An additional resource includes Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan at www.migtri.org.

Welcoming Your New Intern

Helping a new hire feel welcomed and comfortable within your department is very important.  It will help the student become settled into his/her role and, in turn, provide you with the results you’re looking for faster.

Below you’ll find a sample orientation outline that will help your student find his/her place within your organization.

  • Review organization and department missions
  • Give the student a feel for the organizational structure, provide an organizational chart or staff list with phone numbers
  • Explain the need-to-know items. These may need to be adjusted for virtual internship experiences.
    • Specific work dates and times
    • Office hours, breaks, and lunches
    • Intranet
    • Using office equipment, i.e., computer, phone
    • Dress code
    • Attendance and punctuality
  • Review organizational and employee policies (**It is important to note that you’ll want to review your organization’s technology policy as it regards to personal use)
  • Review the position and complete any needed forms
    • Establish learning objectives
    • Identify and discuss main projects
    • Job description
    • Results expected
    • Action plan
  • Set weekly meetings with your student to review projects, provide feedback, and provide opportunities for reflective learning
  • Set regular evaluation meetings (one 30 days in and one at the end of the internship)
  • Inform the student of departmental or staff meetings they are expected to attend      
  • Identify a backup supervisor or support person who can answer the student’s questions if their regular supervisor is unavailable
  • Ensure that your student understands their responsibilities
  • Provide a tour of the facility and provide an introduction to staff

Page last modified August 4, 2021