Why we value and charge for internships


Harking back to April of 2013 when we launched Dutch Startup Jobs as a site for the community to put all their jobs in one place and drive traffic to them, we have changed quite a bit and now it’s time for an added step. From October 21st we have changed our policy on internship submissions. We wish for all return Startups to pay €25 for posting an internship position. We felt this needed an explanation why. Here it is:

Why we value and charge for internships.

When I was running a previous startup, we wasted so much time trying to find the right channels, interviewing the wrong people and paying alot of money finding talent who had that special ‘startup’ attitude.

From April of last year we have posted 770 startup job positions where 537 were internships on Dutch Startup Jobs and we think it’s time we recognised the part of interns in our community and send a little ‘kudos’ their way. Having internships as free, asserted that the position had little value compared to other positions and we felt this isn’t fair.

Interns are the circulatory system of startup ecosystems.

If you look at the new class of Startupbootcamp who within a week of selection each started putting up at least 2 positions for their startups and Rockstart who have a significant team of interns doing everything from design, video editing to legal issues, they rely heavily on interns as major cogs in their engines. The Netherlands has an open attitude to what an intern is with a more trainee/apprenticeship role which doesn’t have to be work placement from University. Belgium is still coming to this conclusion hence the lack of internships in that particular community but we utilise this asset and it is very valuable.

Invest and recognise their contribution.

I have talked about the cyclical nature of replenishment for startup eco-systems and how company exits drive more talent/cash and mentorship back into the cycle and I think we overlook the fact that interns are an example of this transference in action. Whether it is an intern starting fresh in one company learning how things work and becoming full-time or moving to another startup and building upon their experiences within a different context in a new role who then spread their knowledge and experience that founders don’t get an occasion to.

We want to acknowledge their value and committing a cost for the role of an intern in our startups is the first step in doing this. This is why we introduce the cost for posting internships.

Move away from the ‘we can’t afford freelance so we will get an intern’ mentality.

In the history of Dutch Startup Jobs we have had companies submit full-time positions and when they were told ‘full-time positions’ need to be paid for they switched the ‘full-time’ to ‘internship’ as this was the only free option. It is an edge case but it has happened more than once. Interns learn from experienced members of the team, time and assets should be set aside to help them develop as it benefits the company and longer-term the community.

This is just to make more money, right?

Yes. yes it is to make us more money in a small market within the Netherlands but not only to make us money. We have worked long and hard to get the website to where it is today and we have plans: Next year we plan to bring some new ideas to the Netherlands in the form of a jobs fair/festival focusing on Startups/SME to drive more talent and more attention to companies and help direct the eyes of more European/US talent towards the Netherlands and not only Amsterdam. There really is alot of potential in our little country and driving talent here should be one of our top priorities.


  1. Wouter

    What’s your view on startups/co.’s abusing interns (not in the catholic sense of the word ;))? I.e. hiring people as interns so as to not have to pay them decent salaries, but in the mean time having them work like a (junior) teammember?

  2. Paul O'Connell Author

    This is a harder one to address but i think it’s systemic. Maybe giving interns a more recognised position in our community it will help diminish a perceived ‘improper’ utilisation of them as a resource from companies. It could be a cycle of abuse that gives credence to this behaviour.


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Dutch Tech Jobs

Dutch Tech Jobs was launched in 2013 to be the Netherlands go-to website for Tech Scaleups / Startups who are looking for passionate talent.

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