It’s that time of year once again. Drumroll please…. It’s time to start thinking about hiring summer interns. As students begin to think or (stress) over their upcoming finals and rejoice over the incoming warm weather, you need to be determining how to attract these young budding professionals and bring them in to your company.
Their value can’t be overstated - they have a ton to offer you, and you have a ton to offer them. Competition to recruit these guys is constantly increasing. It’s critical you not only know how to build interest, but also have a plan to make the internship an extremely valuable experience. Here’s a few ways to do that.
Set a Plan and Display it
What’s the biggest complaint that interns have about their internships?
They don’t have enough to do during the day. And when they don’t have enough to do, they feel like they are wasting they’re time. Many interns go unpaid for the exchange of knowledge and attention from someone that can teach them something. But if they aren’t getting that, and they’re not getting paid, then what’s the point?
So before you do anything else, develop a plan to make sure the internship has true value to potential interns. If there is legitimate value, your job descriptions will practically write itself and it will stand out. Your reputation will also grow quickly within colleges and from other students. Think about having one big project that they can focus their efforts on. It’s important to have some scheduling details hammered out ahead of time. Who is the intern going to report to? When and how much time do they need on a weekly basis to touch base with their manager? It can be helpful to briefly illustrate these details in the description – “You will be working closely with the CMO.” Try to avoid including “fluff” in your descriptions. These are vague “duties” that don’t really say or mean anything at all. But are there to bolster the number of duties and responsibilities appearing to be involved with the internship – recognize what fluff is and minimize it.
Be a Manager Who Cares
The best internships have managers that care. They should care about getting to know the intern or team of interns as individuals. They should recognize the mutual relationship that an internship requires – they are there to work and to learn. They need someone to teach them. Their manager should be the one interviewing and meeting with any intern coming in and be the decision maker of who to hire. It’s important to do what you can to meet their academic requirements. Many internship programs require cooperation between a supervisor and an academic advisor/university or college. A student may be completing a cap stone project or writing a thesis based around the internship and they might need to gather information in order to complete their project. This could be in the form of interviews or acquiring numbers about the company itself, such as year over year revenue. Make it clear that academic assistance can be provided, and they should not feel uncomfortable to ask these types of questions and get assistance on these issues. Even small tasks such as signing information week to week or meeting with their academic advisor once for a few minutes are important to students. It is encouraging to know that their internship advisors are on board. You would be surprised with how many managers can make students feel guilty about bringing the classroom into their office, and it can be a difficult battle. Make it clear that you are there to help them.
Students are resourceful when it comes to finding an internship. The ones that are worth hiring are not going to sit back and wait for their academic advisor to hook them up. They’re going to be proactive about it. And they will do their due diligence to make sure they are going to be working somewhere that is worth their time and effort. Have your posting in as many places as possible including:
And don’t be afraid to do a little sourcing and some direct messaging on LinkedIn just like you would for a full time employee.
Get to Know Their Colleges
You can attract interns by going to the main source of where to find them – their college campuses. Many colleges host career fairs around this time of the year, and they can be great opportunities to get to meet prospective interns face to face and get a real feel for who they are. It can be the first time that they might hear about your company, so it’s a great chance to build a personal relationship. When meeting with them try to speak their language talk about learning, opportunity, professional skills things that resonate with students looking to grow. Make sure to collect names of students and follow through with them. They’re on the hunt and come across many opportunities, reaching back out to them after meeting them will get their attention in a big way.
Use Your Current Interns
If you already have a network of students that have interned at your company - utilize them. Reach back out to them to extend the message to their classmates. No one has a larger network of potential interns than those that are in the thick of it. They can be the ambassadors for your recruiting program that you need. But again, this all hinges on the value that the internship brings to the table. You can also look for full time employees who have recently graduated to reach out to their network. They should be able to have connections to rising juniors and seniors. Make sure you get feedback from your current interns as well in order to learn what you can do better. Interns have their opinions and they have good feedback to give, I guarantee it. Only problem is no one asks them until it is too late.
The summer is approaching quicker than you think, you cannot afford to wait much longer to find your summer interns. Keep these tips in mind and follow through before it’s too late!