Recruiting college interns requires a different strategy than full-time professional recruitment. When deciding how to go about creating successful internship program recruitment methods, there are several key things to take into account, which we will discuss. Having a strong program in place will help you build a solid foundation — one in which your organization benefits, and college interns gain valuable experience.
Here are three tips on how to recruit top college interns for your organization:
One of the most important first steps is to build relationships with local universities to broaden your connections and toolbox. If your organization aims to find interns with skills for a specific role such as a technical or engineering position, you might consider building a partnership with schools that offer best-in-class technical programs. Having ongoing relationships with schools leads to a high success rate when looking for college interns. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, the university with second highest job placement rate partnered with over 4,000 companies! This school offered hundreds of seminars and workshops; tens of thousands of students participated. Workshops like these are excellent opportunities for an organization to build brand awareness and work with students who could be potential interns and full-time employees in the future. Be sure to stay in the loop of these events on campus via university recruiting ambassadors.
Once these partnerships are secured, it’s important to spread the word! You can’t wait for top talent to come to you — you have to reach them. Use as many outlets as possible through the university: attend job fairs, campus recruitment events and post on university job boards. Take it a step further and volunteer your organization to speak at student events discussing the importance of internships and how they can prepare students to enter the workforce. Not only are these opportunities beneficial for your organization, they help students as well by teaching them networking skills and increasing their chances of being hired before or after graduation.
Lastly, ensure that you have specific recruitment cycles that align with student programs. For example, it doesn’t make sense to start recruiting in the spring when students will be leaving for the summer break. Sync up with the career services department on campus to align your internship program's recruitment strategies with class schedules and student needs. According to the NACE 2015 Internship & Co-op Survey, employers begin recruiting an average of six to seven months before the position is scheduled to start. Ensuring that your company does the due diligence to correspond hiring periods with the school timelines is crucial. If possible, you can focus on recruiting first- or second-year students to reduce costs of recruitment efforts in subsequent years. Having students return for a second round will reduce costs associated with recruitment and training.
Overall, arguably the most important thing is to look for students who have the right DNA for a long-term fit. The NACE 2015 Internship & Co-op Survey found that more than 50 percent of students become full-time employees at the companies they intern for. Building and investing in strong internship recruitment methods will not only help your company reduce recruitment costs down the line, but it will help to attract candidates with the right DNA.
Brittany Davison is a Talent Acquisition Coordinator at WilsonHCG. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University and the CHRP designation. Outside of work, her personal interests include working out, yoga, cooking, healthy eating and travel!