How to hire an intern in Singapore: A step-by-step guide

Interns are sought-after for many reasons. They’re energetic, adaptable, and are a cost-effective solution to any organisational challenge. In your journey as a leader of your company, you’re likely familiar with the need to be innovative, flexible, and passionate. Often, youths are the best resource – provided you choose the right interns. But what do you need to know before you hire an intern in Singapore?
hire an intern in singapore


understanding internship seasons

hire an intern in singapore

There are specific periods for you to fish for capable interns. It all depends on where they are in life, whether they’re having their university break or recently freed of National Service obligations. We’ve compiled a concise list here:

  • Post-NS / post-JC – February to August
  • Polytechnic – March to April, September to October
  • Local university / MBA – June to August
  • Regional university – November to January


Types of Internships

Understanding the season to hire interns is only one part of the equation. You should also be aware of the different types of internships out there: the 6-month internship, the summer internship, and the part-time internship.

Summer internships

These internships fall in line with ongoing school semesters, and are often undertaken by current university students. Usually, they last for 8 to 12 weeks. Expect to begin these internships somewhere between May and June, during students’ summer holidays.

Six-month internships

Unlike summer internships, this particular internship runs for a much longer time. Half a year gives you plenty of time to expose your intern in Singapore to different projects and responsibilities. Your interns may or may not be undergraduates or students.

Part-time internships

Coming away from traditional, full-time internship positions, part-time internships offer students and young professionals to maintain a school-work-life balance while contributing to your company.



kick-starting the hiring process

hire an intern in singapore

There isn’t just one solution to finding a pool of interns to hire from. This is because different groups of youths have different needs and expectations – both of themselves and their potential employers. You’d have the choice of the following outlets, summarised below:

  1. Job platforms
  2. University career portals
  3. Polytechnic career offices
  4. Guerrilla hiring methods

Job platforms – the jobseeker’s staple

The most useful platforms employers to hire an intern in Singapore include Glints, LinkedIn, and Tech in Asia. These platforms greatly benefit both employers and employees. We’ll briefly go into the employer benefits of these four job portals here.

Glints is a dynamic job portal for working millennials. It also serves as a career discovery platformfor millennials who access career resources freely and find advice for career pathways and progression. Millennials seeking internships often turn to Glints for new opportunities – as an employer, you can do the same. Employers can leverage on countless campus partnerships through Glints, including strong ties with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, SMU and SIM. Expect your job postings to be polished and refined before release and secure your best candidates within a short period of time.

LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest professional network and can open you up to a huge resource of talented professionals and future interns. The platform’s smart targeting system will place your job listing in the view of candidates with relevant skills and experience, even if they aren’t actively looking for a job. LinkedIn uses a price-per-day model: employers can set the daily rate which translates to a certain number of clicks or views per day.

Tech in Asia provides resources to employers that include job description templates, email templates, and even interview questions. The hiring team at Tech in Asia is comprised of people experienced with coding and technical requirements and offers to match your company with talent that fits not only the job descriptions but also your culture and ideals. Should you lose your recent hire within 90 days, you’ll get a replacement at no additional cost.

University career portals and polytechnic career offices – where fresh, willing talents are made

Hiring university students is a clear-cut path. In the case of SMU, NTU, and NUS, expect to be given straightforward solutions to hire interns. SMU, for example, will contact you over email and later handle the job posting on your behalf on its OnTrac II portal. The portal utilises strict filters so that students who study bioengineering will not be able to apply for a job related to IT or programming.

NTU grants you an employer account on its internal career portal, where you’ll be given free reign to adjust and edit your job postings as you wish, making it quite like utilising a standard job listing site or platform.

NUS’ career services differ from school to school. It’s worth mentioning that contacting these faculties directly is the best way to get started on partnering with the university.

Polytechnic career offices like TP’s and NP’s are well-equipped to help you organise a pool of interns according to your company’s needs. This, of course, means that you should be committed to doing the paperwork post-internship, since polytechnic students are on formal industrial attachments and will be graded upon their conclusion. You can expect to either have CVs collated and sent to you or polytechnic students steadfastly applying to you directly.

Guerrilla hiring – going the extra mile (or an extra 100 miles)

If you’re looking to get one step ahead of the competition, consider using more direct approaches to hire interns. Some guerrilla tactics include approaching friends who teach at universities, getting former interns to recruit friends for an incentive, and launching unique campaigns.

Getting into contact with acquaintances and friends who teach at universities will open you up to a large pool of undergraduates and final year students. It goes without saying that tapping into that network will grant you a handful of interns. Consider requesting for your job offer to be passed along to high-performing students if you wish to narrow your search for capable candidates.

Incentivising recruitment will add just a bit more motivation for former interns that you enlist. It could mean the difference between a former intern forgetting to pass along your message and an ex-intern reaching out to their friend group right away.

Social media campaigns and engaging recruitment journeys will take you far. DBS Bank recently broke away from traditional hiring methods and launched a Hackathon coding challenge in search of a hundred new developers. Considering its reputation as a bank that has reimagined itself and gone digital, DBS is no stranger to new frontiers. This coding challenge was regarded as a first of its kind in Southeast Asia and drove efforts to find versatile and skilled developers who were familiar with new and rising technologies. Talk about being unorthodox and creative!

The key idea here is to simply be proactive, whether or not you have utilised the first three recruitment methods to hire interns.



Maximising your interviews with meaningful interaction

hire an intern in singapore

The hiring process for interns is the same for any other employee. You’ll receive applications, narrowing down your list of potentials, and later scheduling interviews. You might even decide to have multiple interview rounds. Screening them will take a while and requires dedication on your part as an employer.

Different age groups, different needs

As mentioned earlier, you are to anticipate the needs and expectations of different groups.

For example, post-NS and JC youths may simply be looking for a job to get them through the waiting period before university. These particular guys also have a lot more free time, and may want to build up their working experience before going all out for a degree.

Conversely, university graduates are seasoned individuals. As opposed to their younger counterparts, they’re hoping for relevant, real life experiences that relates to their degree. Like anyone else, they probably want to make their pieces of paper worth the years spent slogging it out in 8AM lectures. These guys will likely come onboard with your start-up willingly if they find that relevance. (Something worth noting: first-year students differ greatly from final-year undergraduates in terms of knowledge, so make your selection carefully.)

Impactful questions and honesty

Ask meaningful questions to really get to know your candidates. This includes figuring out their lofty goals, if any, and seeing whether their ideals and motivations align with your company’s.

You should also be prepared to be upfront about your company’s culture, especially if employees often experience working late into the night during crunch periods. Being honest with your candidates will help them to see if they truly want to join you or not. Most importantly, tell them what they’ll learn at your company! The low salary range means most interns are hungry for experience and learning opportunities.

Reading the signs – body language and disposition

Understanding body language and cues from your candidate will also help you to figure out if they are genuinely interested in contributing to your firm. Stay observant and attentive, and power through the screening period. You might find some diamonds in the rough.




hire an intern in singapore

The average salary range

A commonly used salary range for an intern in Singapore runs from $600 to $1,000, with an average of $800 per month for university students. Take the average salary and use it as a benchmark to offer a reasonable figure to future interns. While experience is indeed worth it, try not to offer unpaid internships – monetary incentives can motivate young talent, after all.

Set a proper pay structure – and stick to it

Be consistent with your pay structures as you would be for a full-time employee and stand by your principles. If you were upfront and sincere about the kind of things your future intern is going to learn, they will have no problem in saying yes to your company.

Hiring an intern in Singapore is a long but rewarding process, especially if you find the right candidates to join your organisation. Energetic and adaptable youths are the perfect addition to a thriving company environment, and so it should be taken seriously. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide will be able to get you started on your journey to hiring an intern in Singapore.

After you’ve digested this huge guide, head on over to Glints and get started with your hiring process today!

Sophia Lee

I used to freelance exclusively for Glints - now I'm a content marketing intern working furiously in the backdrop. Talk to me about writing any time! (Or we could have a serious discussion about video games and e-sports... that's cool too.) Find me on Instagram (@pxtrx)!

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