Are you a loaded employer who wants more staff – but is too tight-fisted to pay their wages?

Never fear! In 2010 you CAN get something for nothing!

Simply follow Graduate Fog’s 10-step guide to screwing over your intern:

1. Advertise your unpaid internship as a real job. Post the ad for your vacancy exactly as normal — just remember to write the word ‘Intern’ in front of the job title. That way, hundreds of eager young workers will volunteer to do it for free! If you don’t have the stomach to do this yourself, ask an agency to do your dirty work for you. Don’t lose any sleep, there’s no legal comeback – HMRC aren’t interested and the Department of Business have said there’s no money to prosecute employers who do this.

2. Big up the cool factor. If your company does anything even vaguely ‘creative’ (however tenuous) or political, you’ve hit the jackpot. Just stress in your ad that you’ll ‘provide excellent training’ and that this is a ‘fantastic opportunity to gain experience and contacts in a competitive industry’ and watch the applications roll in. Big websites like Gorkana,, w4mp and MusicJobs will be happy to post your ad. You could also try the university careers services, many of whom are happy to promote these placements, despite pledges from AGCAS that uni careers staff would help to stamp out unpaid internships, not add to the problem. Many of them have secretly switched sides, whilst still insisting to students that they’re working in their best interests.

3. Savour that ‘Simon Cowell’ feeling. As the applications flood in, remember to shout ‘MWAH-ha-ha!’ and rub your hands in glee at the vast number of desperate graduates fighting to get a toe-hold on the first rung of their career in your sought-after industry – and thank your lucky stars that you got in when you did. As you do this, reach down and pull the ladder up a little further.

4. Save your crappiest jobs for your intern. No role is too mundane to qualify as ‘experience’ for this ‘lucky’ young person – in fact, junior admin jobs involving taxi-booking, tea-making, Excel spreadsheets and data entry are the norm. Don’t worry that your intern might not be getting anything out of their time with you – they’ll be grateful just to be in your presence, ‘soaking up’ this golden opportunity.

5. Consider hiring a ‘super-intern’. Want someone experienced for a job that’s actually quite pivotal within your company? That’s no problem either. Just specify your wish list of skills. Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay any more for an experienced worker. Gone are the days when ‘responsibility’ was something that meant you paid a BIGGER salary. In 2010, the more responsibility involved in a role, the LESS you have to pay that person. (NB This ONLY applies to junior staff members – never fear, your pay packet is safe). Remember, you are GIVING your intern experience and responsibility. Why on earth should you pay THEM? If anything, they should be paying YOU.

6. String them along. Don’t let on that there’s no chance you’ll ever take them on full-time (why would you – when others will do it for nothing?) Just let your intern continue to think that a permanent, paid role with you is just around the corner just as soon as you have more ‘budget’. During their time with you, make your intern feel included and part of the team – so they won’t slag you off later on RateMyPlacement or InternsAnonymous. Include them in trips to the pub, but don’t worry about buying them a drink. In fact, they’ll probably buy you one, in the hope that it might persuade you to offer them a job. Happy days.

7. Trick them into thinking you’re a decent human being. Strange but true – if you’re ‘nice’ to your intern for long enough, they’ll eventually forget that you’re not paying them. It’s magic. With any luck, they’ll get so confused that they’ll even start attacking those pesky interns’ rights campaigners, like Graduate Fog, InternAware and Internocracy who are trying to insist that you put your hand in your pocket and pay your young staff properly. This ensures that the collective voice of unpaid interns remains confused and conflicted, so the issue is unlikely to be taken seriously any time soon – and there will always be a steady supply of interns for you to exploit in the future.

8. Plan for their replacement. Bored of your intern now? Simply dispose of them and select a replacement from the hundreds of other hopefuls. But remember – you don’t want to get stuck wasting YOUR precious time training the newbie for the job they’re going to do for you, unpaid. Instead, make sure your existing intern spends some of THEIR unpaid time teaching the new one everything they’ve learnt, before they head off to their next slave labour placement – sorry – ‘Interning opportunity’.

9. Don’t bother writing a reference — or reimbursing expenses. This will only take up more of your precious time. Instead, suggest that they write themselves a reference and email it to you to sign. Fingers crossed, they’ll find the task so cringe-inducing they won’t get round to it – so you won’t even need to lift your pen. Likewise, if you’ve offered to reimburse expenses from their time with you, ‘forget’ to tell them how to do this before they leave. With luck, they’ll be too intimidated to ask. If they do, simply ignore their invoice, in the hope they’ll be too embarrassed to chase payment. Given the choice of money vs ‘goodwill from an employer’ you’d be amazed how many will sacrifice the cash you owe them. This leaves you extra funds to spend on your next boozy board meeting at Gordon Ramsay.

10. Be inspired by pioneers in this field. Take notes from this ad for an ‘Intern receptionist’, which ran on MusicJobs last week:


Company: **subscribing individuals only**
Location: Brixton, London
Duration: 6 months

Job posted on: 27/11/10

Salary: Expenses

About The Job

We are an established, innovative, award winning music and multimedia London-based studio looking for an intern receptionist to join our fun and creative team.

You will be required to be flexible and work any 7 days of the week, 9.30am to 2.30pm or 2pm to 7.30pm for 6 months.

You will need to be computer literate, have excellent organisational and communication skills and maintain a professional manner, over the phone and face to face.

A passion for music and basic knowledge of studio equipment and music software is preferred. As our studio is based on a high street, you would need to be highly presentable to reflect the creative work place and be prepared to positively represent the studio to clients and industry known associates.

As well as the opportunity to put such a prestigious establishment on your CV, you will have the chance to develop your own artistic skills within a unique environment.

In fact, why stop there? Why not replace ALL your paid staff with unpaid workers?

With so much to gain, it’s incredible no-one’s thought of this brilliant plan before – isn’t it?

(PS. What’s that? The National Minimum Wage Act? No, never heard of it…)

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