Sure, unpaid internships are the backbone of countless media and film companies in LA, but that doesn’t mean they’re all effective or even legal. Just look at Harper’s BazaarCharlie Rose and the movie Black Swan – all companies were hit with lawsuits over unpaid work by former interns.

So, avoid all the headaches by first re-evaluating your hiring process. ”Haphazardly hiring interns can be a huge waste of time for both the intern and the company,” said Marc Scoleri, co-founder and CEO of creativeinterns.com.

Instead, think of the internship as an investment and plan accordingly. “An interview and discussion about the candidates’ skills, future plans and career interests will help clarify if the candidate will be a good match — and possibly a future employee,” he said.

For more tips on developing a mutually beneficial program, check out 7 Things That Are Ruining Your Company’s Internship Program.

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is exclusively available to mediabistro.com AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, you can register for as little as $55 a year and get access to these articles, discounts on seminars and workshops, and more.