While an internship was once a phrase only confined to medical graduates, the term has now evolved to describe a wide range of job placements throughout the business world.
Internships are not only a critical component of many schools’ curriculums, but for recent graduates it is a resume booster needed in today’s competitive job market. In addition to skill building and resume enhancement, internship positions often evolve into real jobs for students down the line (Forbes). For businesses? An intern can serve as a great source of energy and innovation.
- Entry level pipeline.
If the intern was able to successfully integrate culturally, accomplish their goals and understand your company’s processes, why would you bother searching for someone else for that entry-level position? Internship programs allow organisations to have a steady flow of job ready candidates already accustomed to your company’s way of operating.
- Apply the latest in techniques and technology.
University students learn cutting-edge strategies, techniques, and technology in their courses. Implementing an internship program gives you direct access to recent developments and updates in the related field. As much as your interns will learn from you, you can also learn from them (Internships.com).
- Improved productivity.
The phrase “many hands make light work” is an expression for a reason. Where applicable, the intern can provide a boost to the company’s’ production and reduce the workload of your current employees.
- Low cost labour force.
Interns are in an inexpensive resource, and in many cases can be ‘free’ for the organisation. While wages typically equal productivity, interns are eager to make their mark on an organisation regardless of the salary they are paid (or not).
- Increased visibility.
An internship program for all intents and purposes is a PR campaign. Your interns are likely to be social media savvy and eager to display their new opportunity throughout their online platforms. All in all providing more visibility for your brand.
Finding quality interns can be difficult. With most non-internship job applications, you have a resume full of experience to gauge the individual’s skills and their abilities. For an intern, it isn’t always that simple. Many of them are fresh from university (or still in university) with little to no experience. After all, experience has to be experienced somewhere.
Knowing where and how to find quality interns effectively will increase your chances of finding a great fit for your company.
Here are the three best ways to find interns:
- Timing will be everything.
If you’re recruiting students, think about the length of the project along with the timing of your job placement. For example, a student is unlikely to be able to commit to any project/experience that extends longer than a standard semester. While each placement is unique, it’s important that you mesh out the finer details with both the intern and the university. Which brings us to our next point.
- Use LinkedIn.
It’s no secret that millennials and younger people in general (not that all interns are young) are avid users of social media, with LinkedIn being a popular choice among young professionals searching for opportunities. For businesses, LinkedIn provides powerful analytic tools, community groups to join and the ability to segregate jobs based on experience level – including internships.
Every great internship must come to an end, and as their employer you should want to see them either stretch their metaphorical wings in your own company, or move on to bigger and better things elsewhere. Allow current/prior interns to refer potential matches to your company and incentivise them to participate. Keep in mind, the positives and negatives of the internship program will be relayed back to the university and to potential future interns.
The days where an internship consisted of getting coffee for management and handling the office faxing requirements are long gone. Or at least they should be. When done correctly, an internship program can provide access to a pool of job-hungry candidates ready to make an immediate impact in your organisation.
While this article has primarily discussed the importance of finding interns in conjunction with university, it’s important to note that not all interns are currently enrolled in a university, or have ever been enrolled. The ability to be self taught through online bootcamps has created quality candidates irrespective of their formal academics. It’s up to you as an organisation to determine what you’re looking for in an individual.