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Consider your internship program an investment in your company’s next generation of talent. Whether you’re creating a new internship program or are updating your current one, incorporate the below eight initiatives into your strategy to attract, hire and mentor your next class of interns — and potential future employees.

Be selective

Have a rigorous interview process to carefully screen your company’s future interns. View this stage as an investment in your business, and a starting point to groom interns for full-time, post-graduation positions.

Communicate beyond the 9-5

Create an intern communication plan that goes beyond their daily tasks. If your interns are new to the city, serve as a resource to help them acclimate to their new home. Provide them with insight and advice on local housing resources, transportation tips, city navigation advice, weekend events and anything else that will make their transition from college as seamless as possible.

Hold them accountable

Work with your company’s hiring managers to ensure interns are tasked with real projects that will generate results. Leverage interns’ motivation, new ideas and willingness to learn, and task them with projects that would benefit from a fresh perspective. When each intern begins, work with him or her to set specific goals, and create a tactical accomplishment plan. When the internship period is completed, both the interns and your organization will have achieved measurable results.

Play up the culture

During your intern recruitment efforts, attract candidates by highlighting your company’s career path opportunities and values, rather than luring them in with free company swag. Once hired, involve your interns in the same all-company meetings, events and initiatives, to keep them focused on their contribution to the company’s goals and greater mission.

Offer flex-work opportunities

Offer flexible or remote work arrangements as part of the internship program. 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay, according to a recent Millennial branding report. Provide interns with clear expectations, the framework to succeed, and the technology to accomplish their tasks. Work with your organization’s hiring managers to establish consistent intern communication processes and checkpoint, so all interns are held accountable for their results.

Create an intern-specific referral program

Encourage interns to refer their friends and classmates. Future intern candidates are likely to trust their friends’ experiences and reviews, so capitalize on this and create a successful employee referral program that encourages interns to refer their peers.

Schedule regular check-ins

Avoid simply handing off interns to their hiring managers at the start of their internship. Schedule regular check-ins during the internship duration, and provide the guidance they need to succeed in both their current role and future endeavors.

Conduct exit interviews

Make exit interviews a standard part of the program. Just as you conduct exit interviews with full-time employees, gather feedback on every intern’s experience with your company and their interest in returning in a full-time capacity.

About Steve Tiufekchiev

As Yello’s Chief Evangelist, Steve’s mission is to be the voice of recruitment change. With nearly 20 years of experience in talent acquisition, he evangelizes the benefits of using technology to power recruitment programs.

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