Building a candidate pipeline through a great internship program for local college students and recent graduates at local universities is a great and cost-effective way to attract and retain top talent. By offering meaningful and impactful work experiences, regular feedback, coaching, and mentorship, you can create a positive internship experience that will make your organization a sought-after destination for future employees. This not only benefits the organization in the short-term but also in the long-term, as you’ll have a pool of well-trained and experienced candidates who may be interested in full-time employment once they graduate. Furthermore, building relationships with local universities and college students can increase brand awareness and build a positive reputation for your organization in the local community.
“We’ve hired former interns to become full-time employees multiple times. I like to think of it as a two- to three-month interview.”— Liz Wessel, co-founder and CEO of WayUp
Making an Intern an Employee
Sometimes, an intern may be a great candidate for full-time employment. Here are a few scenarios where you may consider making an intern an employee:
Young college freshmen and sophomores are great recruitment targets. If the intern exhibits exceptional performance, you have 3-4 years to build a relationship.
Once your intern is about to graduate, you can offer them a full-time job. This is a win-win because you’ve already molded their skills and experiences to fit your organization. As a result, they’ll start their career with a company they already know and respect.
When recent graduates have trouble finding work after college, many turn back to their university’s career services for help. Though there was once a negative stigma on internships after graduation – especially unpaid ones – many grads have brought into the idea of interning.
Therefore, it is beneficial to target fresh graduates. It is also helpful to target soon-to-be grads who are panic-visiting the career office because they don’t know what’s next.
Many universities offer career change programs. While students in these programs tend to be a little older, creating a pipeline with these programs and universities is beneficial.
Older interns mean that you’ll not only have someone with previous professional experience, but you’ll have an intern that will be ready to jump right back into a job when they’re finished studying.
Bets Practices for Creating a Great Internship Program for Recruiting
Gone are the days when internships were merely comprised of tedious tasks. Today, internships serve as a platform for nurturing the next generation of professionals and can be leveraged by companies of all sizes to attract the brightest and most innovative minds. By investing in the right internship program, smaller companies, in particular, have a unique advantage to outpace their larger rivals. By offering hands-on learning experiences and maintaining a connection with interns even after they complete their studies, these companies can establish a robust talent pipeline for the future. Here’s how.
Define Clear Expectations
Define clear expectations and goals for the internship before you start hiring. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve through your internship program. Do you want the internship program to lead to new hires, or do you only need young, seasonal work?
Once you’ve decided on your desired outcome, then you build a plan including specific tasks, responsibilities, skills to develop, and experiences for the intern. This information will help attract the right candidates and set clear expectations from the beginning. It also serves as a tool to help keep the intern’s growth and development on track.
Market With Intention
If your goal is to build a pipeline with local universities, be sure you aren’t wasting your resources. For example, if there’s a job fair coming up but hardly any college students attend, then that is likely not a productive job fair to attend. Instead, target job fairs and conventions specifically for college students and recent graduates. Be sure to promote your partnership with certain universities by making your relationship visible.
Additionally, utilize your organization’s social media channels, college career centers, and online job boards to reach a wide audience of potential interns. You may even consider making an on-campus appearance a couple of times per year.
Evaluate Candidate Motivation
Many people get internships for reasons other than looking for a long-term commitment. Maybe they need money. Maybe your internship program is highly valued, and the experience can land them a job elsewhere. They may even want to make sure that what they’re studying is actually what they’re interested in. Knowing why your intern wants to be part of the internship program is key to determining whether you will get a successful outcome.
Provide Structure, but Not Too Much
It’s not enough to simply provide an intern with work. You want to make sure that the work they are doing is meaningful, structured, and will help them develop the skills and experiences they need to succeed in their future careers. This might include opportunities to work on high-visibility projects, attend professional development workshops, and network with colleagues across the organization.
Give Feedback Often
Finally, it’s important to provide your intern with regular feedback, coaching, and mentorship. This will help them understand how their work is contributing to the organization, and it will also give them the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance as they develop their skills. Remember, investing and pouring into interns is the quickest way to show that you care about their development. As a result, they are able to see how they can grow and build in your organization.
Get started today by posting free internship ads on Job\Searcher. Be sure to share with universities and college students as a quick and easy way to inform them and direct them to your application portal and career site.