Students enrolled in college aren’t simply pursuing a higher level of education — they’re learning skills for a future career. According to the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study, 92% of students begin searching for jobs before graduation and 20% secured internships to get a jump start on their post-college job search.

Internships are a mutually beneficial relationship for students and employers, offering valuable on-the-job experience for students and often resulting in engaged, full-time employees for companies. For recruiters, interns also offer a great point of entry to a company’s talent community, creating a steady stream of motivated candidates already experienced with your brand and culture.

Take a look at five reasons transitioning summer interns into full-time employees is a valuable return on investment:

Interns want to work

a person typing on a laptop during a meetingInternships aren’t just ways for students to earn extra credit or for businesses to hire someone to fetch the morning coffee — they’re opportunities to give students a chance to put their skills to work in a real-world environment. Since companies prefer to hire employees who have experience under their belt, students are eager to build resumes through internships to prepare to enter the workforce.

Companies that help interns develop their skills by including them on meaningful projects that have a measurable impact on the business can lead to satisfying summer experiences for both parties — and help businesses groom their next star employees.  

Interns save money

Bringing on new staff members can be time-consuming and expensive, with costs-per-hire often landing around thousands of dollars per employee. For entry-level candidates, especially those fresh out of college without much experience, there’s no way to guarantee they’ll become long-lasting employees who possess the right culture match or set of skills.

Summer interns may only be around the office for a few months, but they’re not just learning the tools of the trade — they’re getting to know team members, software and the ins-and-outs of your business. Even better, they’ll gain insights into the organizational culture and a potential career path at your company. Getting to know a student’s work ethic, abilities and personality over the course of an internship helps to develop an entry-level employee before they’ve even become a candidate.

Has your company developed a college internship program? Check out our internship insights in the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study.

Interns last long

male employee and female employee talking in front of a windowFor businesses looking to build a team of dedicated employees, there’s no guarantee that new workers won’t be looking to set sail to their next opportunity after less than a year. But despite the stereotype that millennials are job-hoppers, the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study found that nearly half of all respondents plan to stay with their company for more than three years.

One of the benefits of hiring an intern is increased employee retention. According to a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 65% of interns who became full-time employees remained with the company after one year, compared to 46% of employees without internship experience. Nearly 52% of former interns continue to remain with the company after five years; for non-interns, that number drops to just 36%. Turning interns into full-time employees is one of the smartest ways to ensure newly developed talent doesn’t head for the exit after barely having entered.

Interns save time

For open positions, employers spend countless hours pouring through resumes, screening candidates and conducting interviews before settling on the top contender. Even though recruiters’ lives can be made easier through talent acquisition software, transitioning summer interns into full-time employees cuts down on redundancy. Bringing on an employee who has already been vetted through the intern recruitment process saves time, energy and money.

Interns make great advocates

Hiring interns offers a great way to boost your company’s employee referrals program. Recent college grads know plenty of other recent grads. Employees who were hired after a successful summer internship will be eager to share new opportunities at a company that’s taken the time to invest in their own success. It’s win-win: former interns will be happy to take advantage of the incentives offered by an employee referrals program and recruiters will be happy to tap a  pool of candidates who have a positive impression of your company.

At campus recruitment events, successful stories of summer interns who became full-time employees can also be highly enticing for new batches of potential recruits. Your next generation of interns will be eager to spend their summer with a company that offers meaningful career opportunities right out of college.