Recruiting interns: everything you need to know about internships

If you think of the word intern, you will most likely think of the stereotypical image of a meek college student rushing to get his mean boss coffee and to do other trivial yet gruesome tasks. But the reality is far from what we see in movies. In fact, if hired correctly, interns can play a pivotal role in your organization. They can help in reinforcing your institution’s organizational culture, as well as speeding up its growth.  Experts encourage companies of all sizes to rethink the way they are recruiting interns for better results. Here are the best tips to recruit the best interns for your organization.

Outline your internship program before recruiting interns:  

The first step to recruiting interns is preparing a program explaining what the intern will be doing during the internship. An intern should be able to learn from his time at the company according to his future plans and specialty. Don’t put them in charge of day to day tasks that are irrelevant to the organization’s main activity. Instead, make sure to have your interns accompany you on big, important projects closely. You can even allow them to lead on smaller projects if you feel that they are up to it.

Know what you’re looking for in an intern:

Before recruiting interns, you should create your perfect intern profile. You will get a better understanding of the required skill characteristics that you want your interns to have. This will save you a lot of time and effort when looking at potential interns.  Everything from their major to the soft skills that are needed in your company should be thought of in advance. You can even take inspiration from successful past internships.

Exchange the standard interview questions with interactive situations when recruiting interns:

Traditional recruitment methods are outdated. In fact, they do not give you an accurate look into the intern’s personality and work ethics. Instead, we advise you to opt for a more open approach when recruiting interns. This is achievable by setting up real life cases and getting in touch with them via concrete scenarios. In order for you to get an accurate assessment of the intern’s abilities and competency level, you have to discard external factors like how nice they sound or how they respond to your standard questions.

Be present:

Attending college events on and off campus, interacting with potential interns, organizing field trips in your organization, etc. These are all great ways to get in touch with different interns to find a good match. recruiting interns should be based on how they react with their environment so that you get an accurate reading of their personality as an intern.  Nothing can be as revealing as watching students in class, during seminars, or other events that they have organized at college. You get to see how they react under pressure, when nervous, or when mad.

Look in the right places:

With college students, you should focus on specific platforms that are popular for recruiting interns. This way, you are sure to reach more candidates, and will have spent your resources wisely. Job boards like Sabiss recruitment are a great place to start, as you can find a number of dynamic interns to choose from, and that have been chosen specifically to fit your needs.

Know when to schedule your internships:

Genrally speaking, hiring interns follows the interns’ universities’ timeline. Keep in mind that students have other more pressing engagements during their school semester, and thus will not be as productive if you don’t time your internship correctly. 

Personalize your selection process:

Hiring interns is different than hiring employees. They lack the experience that employees have acquired over the years. This is why you should consider other factors such as their willingness to learn and play a part in your team, their volunteering experience, special school projects that they have worked on, etc.

You can even think of using other recruitment methods such as peer interviewing to really unravel your candidates and understand them better.

Be clear about the benefits, and offer incentives:

recruiting interns is easy. But keeping your interns productive is a whole other issue. Most people think of interns as the bottom of the hierarchal chain, and should not be compensated for their efforts. This ideology is absolutely outdated and completely irrelevant. Interns deserve to be paid for their time spent growing and thinking of the wellbeing of your company. At the every least, they should be offered incentives and benefits. This will communicate the message that they are valued and important to your organization, even though they won’t be spending as much time as full-time employees with you.

Incorporate hiring interns in your strategy:

Most interns prefer renowned companies thinking that they will benefit the most if they pass their internship there, or that they will be hired immediately after. The truth is that the bigger the company is, the harder it is for interns to distinguish themselves and learn as much. This is a great way for small companies and startups to attract more interns. By hiring more interns, you gain a new cultural dimension, as well as a new workforce.

Final thoughts:

In the end, recruiting interns is a great way to change your company’s dynamics, offer new, fresh perspectives, and incorporate new techniques into your work space. But hiring an intern requires a great hiring process that is adaptable to your needs and those of the intern.

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