Why This Semester Is the Time to Reassess Your Company’s Internship Program
Is your business looking to discover new growth opportunities?
Are you looking for employees with exceptional drive and a fresh outlook?
Do you invest adequate time and resources into your intern program?
If you answered “Yes” to the first two questions, but “No” to the third – you are not optimally leveraging talent.
It is 2018; meaning, it is definitely time companies realized interns hold far more value than fetching coffee and running errands.
Why Put Time Into Your Company’s Internship Program?
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook for 2017, about 91% percent of responding employers prefer that the entry-level candidates they consider have work experience, and 65% percent indicate that they prefer if those candidates have relevant work experience. If hiring teams are increasingly favoring industry experience for even low-level roles, then companies have a responsibility to contribute to their sector by building our robust, illuminative intern programs.
Interns are valuable and should be viewed as more than just “warm bodies” there for mindless tasks. The reality is, they are not only an opportunity for your company to shape the next marketing generation, but also a pathway to new business opportunities. To take full advantage, consider interns of all ages and career stages. Some applicants might be studying at the undergraduate or graduate level, while others might have already built a strong career but are looking to fill a gap in their skillset or pivot their focus. All will bring unique merits to the table and should be given equal consideration.
What Can Interns Bring to the Table?
Prospects new to the workforce are more likely to be digital natives who came of age in the multi-device world. Their expertise navigating technologies and anticipating shifts in digital trends can help inform your company’s strategies. In addition, they are more likely to have attended undergraduate and graduate courses during a time where Digital Marketing was a developed topic of study, making them primed to jump into certain projects with minimal additional training. On the flip side of the coin, “career-transitioners” bring a wealth of expertise in corporate processes and professional collaboration, as well as extensive knowledge on their prior industry. They can provide invaluable feedback on company procedures and help you glean insight into industries your company may want to pitch.
In addition to these unique benefits, there are some universal traits you should expect if you properly structure your internship program and its recruitment efforts:
- Eagerness to learn
- Fresh perspective
- Connection to a network of potential hires
- Future business advocacy for your company
- Expanded team resources for the short term
What Should You Do to Establish an Internship Program?
Thoughtful program set-up is critical to connecting with individuals who provide the above rewards. Posting an internship job opening is not the start and finish for maximizing your return on these individuals. Success will require attentive recruiting, extensive planning, and enthusiastic training.
When it comes to recruitment, finding individuals that fit your culture while also being able to challenge the status quo is an art that takes time to develop. Make sure your hiring team isn’t just focused on the applicants with the most relevant undergrad classes or the most open schedule. Look for innovative thinkers who are eager to explore different facets of your organization while finding their niche.
To set up an effective training program, you need employees with a passion for developing talent, who can hone in on the training needs of the next wave of marketers. Once you’ve identified these employees, make sure you support them from a resource management perspective, giving them the time they need to develop and impart intern curriculum.
The Results of a Successful Program
At Path Interactive
- 14% of the full-time employees who contribute to our award-winning teams are former interns
- 2 current clients have been referred by past interns in the last 18 months
- Applicants for our internship program are regularly referred by past participants
By investing in our interns, we’ve uncovered new business opportunities and built a solid talent pipeline in the process. By understanding the value of interns and investing in your organization’s internship program, your business can do the same.