Summer internship programs, whether paid or unpaid, provide significant benefits for employers. Beyond the immediate advantage of having extra hands on projects, you’ll also have access to the next generation of talent. For a small or mid-size business, recruiting interns can seem intimidating. Working with colleges to connect with students, developing job descriptions for summer positions, and attending job fairs are all part of hiring an intern. Surprisingly, the process isn’t too different from recruiting and hiring traditional employees. If you’re thinking about recruiting an intern, here are a few things you’ll need to consider.
Intern job descriptions
Before you start recruiting, you must determine what your needs are, and the duties your interns will have. Even though they’re with you temporarily, thoughtfully crafted job descriptions will offer your interns and your company the greatest benefit from your program. Some companies have specific projects interns work on throughout the summer, while others rotate between departments to learn different tasks within the company. Be sure you have a designated member of management to check in, at least weekly, with your interns. Since many companies use their internship program to evaluate potential employees, your interns should feel like their work is meaningful.
Getting the word out
Whether you’re recruiting from specific campuses or opening your internship program up to a wider pool, you’ll need to advertise your program. You will need to work with the career centers on campus to follow their protocols and timelines for intern recruitment.
Don’t rely solely on college internship postings to spread the word. Utilizing social media to advertise your program gives you greater reach and a larger pool of talent. On Facebook, be sure to post about your internship program not only on your page but to share and cross-post to draw the attention of students. If your company has a blog, put it to work to share more details about your program and share the post across your social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Get in front of a potential intern
The personal touch is a must when recruiting interns, especially for small and mid-size businesses who may not have the name recognition or prestige of Fortune 500 companies. Generate excitement about your internship program by attending campus recruitment events like career fairs and networking meetings. You may even check in with professors about making classroom presentations. Talk to schools’ career services offices about events you could sponsor, to spread the word about your program and meet potential interns. You could even host a coffee happy hour at your location and invite interested students to attend, offering tours of your offices and one-on-one or small group meetings with management and HR staff.
Timetables are important
Most summer internships run from early June through the end of August, but recruitment and selection begin much earlier. Be sure that you notify students when you’ll begin accepting applications and when the posting closes. Post this information on campus internship recruiting boards, through campus career services, on your website, and anywhere else you’ve posted the opportunity. Generally, application periods begin in the winter and are open for 30 to 60 days. This allows you plenty of time to interview and vet potential interns.
Once you’ve narrowed down the applicant pool and decided which students you’ll offer internships to, you’ll need to notify them as soon as possible. Since many students apply to at least a few different programs, early notification will give you a better chance of landing your top choices.
Have a clear plan
Landing an intern for your organization requires having a clear plan for how you’ll recruit and utilize that talent. Interns learn new skills and practical experience from your company while offering fresh ideas and perspectives on your business, a definite win-win situation.