6 important tips to recruit interns at your company

Last updated:
March 25, 2022
April 19, 2022
min read
Nandini Sharma
ProofHub
recruit interns
Table of contents

Nearly 4 million students graduate in the U.S. each year to enter the workforce in search of employment opportunities. The career paths for many of them start with an internship. It not only offers them exposure to a professional business setting but also builds future prospects.    

Internships can be a win-win situation for both graduates and organizations, given each one gets to obtain the desired value. Freshers need hands-on experience that will help them put theoretical knowledge into practical work and eventually get an entry-level job, whereas businesses need to attract top talent and increase their talent pool.  

At the same time, working with interns may demand added responsibilities on the shoulders of tenured employees, which may make businesses cautious about their stance.  

So how can businesses leverage the large influx of talent while maintaining a healthy and growth-centric environment for interns? Let's explore!

Why interns are an untapped resource for companies? 

Interns can benefit a company in unprecedented ways. In the olden days, the apprenticeship culture was a widely accepted practice for kickstarting professional careers for the masses. Fresh graduates acquired their first-hand experience by working with an expert who would overlook their personal and work-related development.

Discover untapped resource for your company

Modern businesses have adopted the internship culture in their own ways. Today, companies offer everything from skilled internships to part-time college work, enabling budding graduates to land their first real industry gig. 

Businesses may not realize but there are a lot of benefits on offer when they hire interns. We have chalked out a few, below. 

Fresher perspectives at work

If you're hiring interns anytime this year, you'll be inviting a mix of Millennials and Gen Z graduates who are known to actively innovate at work. An organization that has an abundance of senior leadership can begin to stagnate in terms of innovative problem-solving. Interns can look at existing processes with a new perspective, bring fresher ideas for age-old problems, and enable the workplace to embrace modernity.   

Grow tech-savvy

Businesses today are actively striving for digital transformation. Hiring interns suits the ideology as most people belonging to this generation have grown up in the digital era. They're more comfortable tinkering with technology and are quick to adopt digital tools. Hence, the organization can raise its tech-savvy quotient by involving interns in their work environment. They can play a dutiful role in helping others learn digital skills and improve the overall efficiency of digitized business processes. 

Build talent from the grassroots level

Interns need nurturing and support in the initial stages but as they hone their talent, they can quickly become potent resources for the company. By hiring interns, your company builds a talent bank at the grassroots level, enabling you to retain high-performing individuals fresh out of college. This gives you enough time to build healthy work relationships and move ahead with full-time hiring.  

More manpower for projects 

Interns learn the best by getting hands-on in their daily tasks. You can delegate suitable project responsibilities that help them refine their skills while you bring down the load on core stakeholders. Interns can serve as excellent helping hands for taking on project tasks that are readily delegatable. This creates a win-win situation where interns participate in the process to learn while freeing up resources to perform at peak productivity.                                                                                          

7 important tips to recruit interns at your company

Discover 7 important tips to recruit interns

Hiring interns is inherently beneficial for your organization but making the right hiring decisions can be tough. We have a list of practical tips that will help you attract the right talent, retain them for longer and create a positive culture in your team. 

1. Start with an internship program

Internships are structured pretty differently than regular employment positions. While most companies have a job description for their full-time openings, they might not have the same for internships. Therefore, creating an internship program is a great starting point

This helps you define a number of key elements such:

Identifying the goals of your program

The first step in creating an internship program is to determine whether your company needs one. Are you looking to attract and retain young talent? Do you have a lot of turnover? Are interns at your company getting valuable experience? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then consider starting an internship program.

You also need to consider what kind of internships you want to offer: paid or unpaid. Both have pros and cons, so it's important to be clear about which type of internship you're offering from the outset.

It's important that your management team is on board with the idea of having interns. It can be hard for an intern's manager to find time to mentor them during their internship.

n addition, it's important that your management team completes a comprehensive training program before they start working with interns. The training should include how to provide feedback and effectively supervise interns, as well as how to evaluate their performance during their internship.

Establish an intern program coordinator

A good intern program coordinator will help with every step of your internship program, from crafting a position description to recruiting and hiring interns to creating an onboarding process and setting up a mentoring program. They'll also be the person who makes sure your interns are treated well and are getting the experience they need in order to succeed at their careers.

The importance of an intern program coordinator cannot be overstated. By having this person on board, you'll ensure that your internship program runs smoothly, that it is well-structured, and that it provides value both for your company and for your interns.

It's hard to imagine running a successful internship program without one!

Number of interns you wish to hire

Hiring the right number of interns for your company is important, because you want them to have time to settle in and get comfortable with their new colleagues before they have to start working on any major projects.

You also don't want too many people taking time away from your full-time employees, who might be able to do a better job than an intern could.

This way, the interns will have opportunities to meet with existing employees multiple times throughout their internship period so that they can learn even more about what kind of work goes into these positions!

Establishing a budget for your internship program

The most important component of any internship program is the budget. It is critical for any company to establish a budget for their internship program because it helps a company optimize their internships through forecasting, as well as streamlining the process of making financial decisions that affect the intern candidates.

In addition, having a budget supports the company's overall mission and vision, as well as its strategic goals in relation to the internship program.

A budget also helps a company forecast and plan ahead with their accounting department and make sure that they have all of the necessary funds available to hire interns in the future.

It also allows them to make informed decisions about how much money they should be spending on each individual intern and how many interns they should be hiring for each position.

What perks or benefits will the interns receive, and so on. 

Once you have decided what kind of internships you will offer and who will manage them, it's time to write a job description for the position of "Intern." This should include a list of responsibilities, qualifications needed for the position, and any perks that come along with being an intern at your company (such as free lunches or gym memberships).

Giving quick rundown on your program

The program can be formalized to be uploaded on the company website to educate new interns quickly.  It's full of information about company policies, where you can find certain documents, and what processes are used at your company.  Provide a copy of your program when they start the internship. It will help interns  feel more at ease about being part of the team.

You should also pay special attention to your overall goal regarding the internships. Many organizations hire interns to supplement their workforce while others do it to aid fresh graduates to gain relevant experience. Your goal should be clearly outlined to attract the right talent. 

Other details such as the duration of the internship, pathways to a full-time job, and experience certificates should also be mentioned in the program. 

2. Describe your ideal candidates

While you'd want to create flexible opportunities for the interns, it's important that you create the ideal candidate profile. This will help you get through the interview rounds faster and potentially reach out to the candidates whom you really want to hire.  

Your ideal candidate is a reflection of your organization's culture and a fit for the given job roles. You're not looking for overachievers or prodigies, but rather the graduates who'll gel well with your people. Let's say your organization prioritizes open thinking and rewards experimentation - include it on the internship page so that you receive relevant applications. 

Again, you're not looking for perfect fits but potent fits. Exercise freedom in handing out chances to promising candidates but describe what you're looking for clearly. Maybe, look for historical data on successful intern hires and learn from them. 

3. Propagate your internships program

With a well-crafted internship program in your hands and possibly a website page ready for it, it's time to spread the word. Just like high-priority job roles, internship opportunities must be dutifully propagated. You'd need extensive advertisement done to ensure that it reaches your target audiences.

You can make use of both offline and online channels for this. One of the best ways is to reach out to student coordinators and placement cells set up at colleges - their notice board really does get noticed. Then there are campus recruitment drives and internship summits that offer great visibility for your company and program. 

Digital channels include everything from job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed.com, Glassdoor, etc, to more specific websites such as AfterCollege or InternJobs. If you have a strong social media following, don't shy away from posting open internships directly to your social handles

4. Time your internship accurately

The timing of the internship matters a lot. You would want to offer a worthwhile experience to the interns while ensuring that you meet the quarter's goals with the recruits. Therefore, a typical internship lasts between 3-6 months. There's no actual limit to how long the internship needs to be. The best way to figure it out is to align it with your original objectives of hiring interns.

If you're offering an experience program, time it in a way that doesn't eat up on your resources. If there's a special project you need help with, make sure the interns stay till the end of it.  

At the same time, remember that interns might be in their college semester cycle which frees them up in specific months only. Summer breaks or special assignments might be the best periods to offer internships. Usually, interns go for options that let them complete the program within their permissible college vacations.

5. Build a smart selection process

Before you send warm welcome emails, it’s important to pick the best talent. 

Selecting the right candidates for the intended positions may not be as straightforward as a regular job interview. Interns come with a little real industry experience and you've to pick subjective measures of gauging talent. 

For hiring the best interns, you can build questions that are focused on their interests, aspirations and soft skills, etc, that are still in the making. Maybe they're taking Spanish classes on weekends or pursuing a specialized course for extra credits. These details offer a deep insight into the individual and help you decide if they'll be an appropriate fit. 

Remember to make the selection process fair and balanced. There's minimal skill-based competition here, hence, focussing too much on academic performance or hard skills might not work. Make it more about the overall persona the candidate brings with them. 

6. Describe the benefits in detail 

Benefits are the center stage for any internship. It starts with a tangible compensation that could offer some extrinsic motivation to the candidates. Unpaid internships are definitely not bad but by offering a small yet reasonable paycheck, you make sure the candidates take you seriously. On the flip side, you can expect real value reciprocation from the interns when you do that. 

Furthermore, it's a great idea to supplement the compensation with extra perks such as an experience certificate, food coupons, shopping vouchers - whatever best suits your capacity.

It's a well-known fact that employers who offer career benefits are seen with the best reputation. Anything that the intern can use in their future employment would make a great internship benefit and a great reason to work with you. 

Conclusion 

If you have never hired interns before, this year could be the one to take the leap. There are demonstrated advantages of hiring interns at your company, right from meeting talent gaps to building a culture of skill development.

Everyone from your existing employees to your new hires benefits from interns. But again, ensuring that you achieve your goals depends on how well you design your internship programs.

Use the advice points made in this article to tighten up the loose ends! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the benefits of hiring interns?

A: There are multiple benefits of hiring interns, including: bringing a fresh new perspective in the workplace, increase productivity and support your employees, building the talent pool and finding students that can turn into full-time employees out of college.

Q: How do I recruit an intern for my company?

A: You can source interns by posting your job opening on college job portals such as Linkedin and Indeed, careers centers, working student coordinators and joining campus recruitment events.

Q: How do I set up an internship program?

A: There are 3 main steps when creating an internship program:

  1. Determine whether your company really needs interns
  2. Hire an internship program coordinator
  3. Identify how many interns you would like to hire plus benefits, perks and salary.
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