Tapping into the large pool of qualified students and recent graduates to fill temporary positions is met with some hesitation for companies large and small. There is an overwhelming sense that interns are only a smart choice when ample busy work is available. Administrative tasks, low-level projects, and the occasional coffee run make up the go-to assignments for temporary hires, but companies that take this approach to employing interns have it all wrong.
In all reality, students and recent grads are actually some of the most high-value hires your company will ever make. Here’s why.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Interns offer an immediate change of pace in your organization, especially when the individuals selected to join your internship program have the right skills and attributes to add to your team. Bringing in a new, eager hire, even for a short period, gives the company an opportunity to gain a new perspective on day-to-day operations and business processes that may need updating or upgrading. Students and recent grads haven’t been in the mix in your company, so they can – and do – offer feedback that is incredibly valuable. To get the full benefit from your new interns, include them in company meetings, brainstorming sessions, and give them meaningful work which they can own. You’ll reap more reward from your interns, and gain insight into their work ethic and drive when they are given assignments that have some weight.
A Long-term Recruiting Tool
Nearly 80% of employers state that the main purpose of offering an internship program is to fulfill recruiting needs, but giving interns low-level assignments won’t help satisfy your company’s ongoing staffing requirements. That’s because entry-level tasks don’t often reveal the true skillset of a new hire. Internships offer a way to analyze an individual’s fit in your company over an extended timeframe, ultimately leading to full-time hires for the right candidates. You won’t be able to glean that insight unless your temporary workforce has the opportunity to showcase their skills.
Anyone can make copies or create an agenda for a meeting; don’t make that the lion’s share of an intern’s work if you want to meet your recruitment goals. Instead, take internships seriously by having a plan for their daily work that includes high-level tasks and projects, and have a plan for mentorship and growth with each intern you bring to the team. Converting interns to full-time hires is one of the most efficient ways to develop your company’s team, but it only works when you recognize the value interns bring to the table.
Photo Courtesy of: Dita Margarita