A human resources intern is a small but significant position within every enterprise's HR department. Every company’s human resources department has several HR team members, such as HR analysts or HR coordinators, working together to make sure all people-related issues are being taken care of. Once an HR department is established enough, it begins hiring interns for the human resources team.
These HR internships, which are often remote, provide crucial professional experience and the department gets help for dealing with simple and redundant tasks. However, certain human resources internships aim to test new potential HR employees.
Regardless, a human resource internship is the starting path of a lucrative career in people management and HR. Therefore, you should know more about the role to understand what it involves and what skills you need to be eligible for the perfect human resources internship experience. Such knowledge ensures your expectations with the role closely agree with real-world professional expectations.
In any case, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at what kind of people-management a human resources intern does at an organization, how you can save time by pursuing the right jobs, and how to activate a roadmap towards a successful human resource career for yourself.
Human Resources Intern Roles
Most of the other HR roles, such as an HR generalist or HR manager, have well-defined roles. For example, the HR manager job description remains the same throughout most enterprises with only slight variations. However, that’s not the case with HR interns since each organization has a different prerogative for human resource internships jobs.
Type of Human Resource Internships
In the United States, human resources interns are assigned the role of an entry-level HR person. Companies plan their internship programs to serve as a means of training prospective employees according to the organization’s values and standards.
However, such aspects vary from company to company, especially when it comes to their scale and the industry they belong to. Smaller companies opt for summer internships or undergraduate internships to get help with simpler and repetitive HR tasks.
On the other hand, established companies devote their employer resources to develop full-fledged development programs for their HR interns. Many corporations also have year-round intern programs with various goals and objectives. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, many internship programs are even remote now to ensure social distancing.
Human Resource Internship Education Requirements
Therefore, the typical role of a human resources intern varies depending on the company. Veteran human resource professionals agree that, at the bare minimum, you should expect the same role as that of a human resources assistant. At most, you should anticipate a full-time human resources internship that matches the role of an HR generalist.
While the role varies from company to company, a human resources intern’s role always starts with fundamental HR tasks, such as updating employee absence records, initiating background checks, filing HR documents, reviewing HR policies, and helping recruiters with creating a job alert, among other things.
As a human resources intern, you also require knowledge of relevant tools, such as a human resource management system (HRIS) which is used for creating effective human resources management workflows.
Duties and Responsibilities
Different companies have different approaches to specifying the human resource internships within their organization. For example, some companies list down the minimum duties and tasks that are required from an HR intern. In contrast, others list down every possible responsibility so they can develop a flexible internship program.
The responsibilities, duties, and tasks of a human resources intern can vary even during the internship too, if the company requires it. The following duties and tasks are what the typical human resources intern has to manage:
- Take over job postings, activate searches on hiring forums and social media platforms for different job titles and job types, and help with creating job alerts.
- Screen potential employees’ resumes, go through their application forms and figure out the most suitable candidates for a vacancy. Avoid any biases in the processes, such as past experience, sexual orientation, and gender identity biases, among others, to ensure the company remains an equal opportunity employer.
- Organize and set up interviews with any shortlisted candidates.
- Assist the HR department and talent acquisition team in onboarding activities for new hires.
- Update company databases by entering new employee contact information, details, and more and ensure data consistency so records agree with real-life data.
- Remove the job posts once the vacancy has been filled to avoid unnecessary job alerts.
- Help in organizing company events and corporate activities.
- Help the HR staff in gathering market salary information to design new compensation and benefits packages.
- Design, prepare, and send offer and rejection letters, emails, and messages to all candidates.
- Learn about the company’s HR policies, employee benefits, and other HR-related stuff to be able to respond to any internal staff inquiries.
- Work in co-op with human resources generalists and other HR staff if needed to complete annual HR duties.
- Provide administrative support to HR business partners and managers.
The duties above cover most of the responsibilities a human resources intern should expect during their internship. The nature of some duties change if the internship has gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After their internship, the usual career path for a human resources intern is towards an HR generalist or HR coordinator. Therefore, you should take a look at our HR Generalist course to learn about the vital skills you need for progressing from a human resources intern to a successful professional.
Land Your HR Internship
It’s not as hard to become a human resources intern because it’s an entry-level position. However, if you want to gain lucrative human resource internships at an established organization, you have to prove yourself. You need to activate the right mindset and learn crucial people-management, time-management, and communication skills.
For example, reading up on HR best practices, case studies, labor laws, compliance standards, and employer resources improves your HR knowledge. Having such extra knowledge enables you to become a better human resources intern and solidify a permanent position at any organization.
If your human resource internship leads to a job, it’s best to learn about the organization’s culture and practices and adjust accordingly to secure your role further.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into the industry through an HR Intern role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR Business Partner resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.