Here’s Why You Need an Intern Recruitment Process

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      • 85.2 percent of interns accept the offer
      • Total conversion rate for internships and co-ops is 61.9 percent
      • 72.7 percent of intern candidates get an offer

National Association of Colleges and Employers

Interns bring with them fresh perspective and energy. And they’re in abundance. They give you the chance to try on an employee for size without committing to a working relationship. And they’re perfectly primed to hit the top of your recruitment funnel later.

If you don’t have an active intern recruitment process in place, now is a good time to build one. And if you’re not sure why it’s such a smart idea, read on.

Interns Have Enthusiasm, Fresh Ideas, and Comfort With Technology

Criteria Most Often Used for Selecting Interns

        • GPA
        • College major
        • Leadership qualities
        • Quality of academic programs
        • Location of the college

–National Association of Colleges and Employers

The top reason many employers develop intern recruitment strategies is rather straightforward: free or inexpensive labor. It’s that simple. It’s also the wrong reason to offer an internship, according to Forbes.

“An intern should not be a replacement for a paid employee; however, they should have real goals and leave the opportunity with additional skills for their career.”

What interns lack in experience they make up for in fresh perspective. They have the new ideas that come with youth and fresh knowledge from school.

They could offer a new perspective on an old way of doing things. That’s handy if you’re behind on a project, you’ve struggled with solving a problem or want to move in a new direction.

Millennials also have no issue with technology. It’s second nature and probably has been since childhood. In fact, they might teach your team a few tech tips and tricks.


If you help them move up now, they could return the favor.

They Could Turn Into Great Top-of-Funnel Talent Later

        • Interns are historically more likely to accept an employment offer with a company where they interned.
        • 75.8 percent of employees who formerly interned are still employed by the company 1 year later.
        • 67.5 percent of people are still employed one year later if they interned with a different company.

–National Association of Colleges and Employers
You won’t hire every intern permanently after they graduate. But wouldn’t it be great to have the inside track on emerging talent the next time you have a vacancy to fill? Forbes calls internships a “trial period that could lead to something more.”

The recruitment process is an ongoing one with new people moving into the top of the funnel on a regular basis. Interns have the potential to improve top-of-funnel quality. They’ve proven their mettle or at least proven that they have the chops to develop into a great employee.

If you want the most out of the opportunity, Entrepreneur says to “make the work meaningful.” This point circles back to the “free labor” issue.

If the work isn’t meaningful, the intern doesn’t gain any benefit. That’s a waste of good talent, and it might also violate the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states:

“The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion, the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.”

With all of the great reasons to recruit interns, there are still several reasons (besides free labor) not to. Forbes says you should shelve the idea for any of these reasons:

        • You or your staff are too busy to genuinely train the intern
        • You need more hands on deck
        • You don’t have a fleshed-out internship program

One step further, College Recruiter offers up several more reasons to skip the internship:

        • You don’t look at interns as a long-term investment
        • The workplace isn’t safe for interns without additional insurance
        • Young, possibly energetic and vibrant people with no work experience wouldn’t mesh with your company culture
        • You aren’t prepared to listen and learn from them as they learn from you

Remember that interns are valuable resources, not just a spare set of hands for busywork that anyone could do. In fact, internships are supposed to be primarily for the benefit of the intern, not the employer.

An opportunity with your company should help them learn about the industry, gain experience and build real-world skills. Your opportunity with them is new insight and the potential for a great new hire once they’re actively seeking full-time employment.

Are you in the market for fresh insights about recruiting and hiring top talent? You’re in the right place. Subscribe to Recruitment ADvisor and we’ll deliver fresh content on a regular basis.

Carole Oldroyd

Carole Oldroyd is a writer and graphic artist living in East Tennessee. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, LegalZoom, and numerous other magazines, websites and blogs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found restoring her historic Victorian home piece by piece.

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About Carole Oldroyd

Carole Oldroyd is a writer and graphic artist living in East Tennessee. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, LegalZoom, and numerous other magazines, websites and blogs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found restoring her historic Victorian home piece by piece.

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