Years ago, as a freshman in college, I had the opportunity to work for the water department in my hometown. My job was pretty much a gofer position, but I learned a lot about what our municipal employees did, and why their jobs were important. I decided this was not what I wanted to do as a career, but I learned many valuable lessons I still use today.
Conversely, a friend worked for an accounting firm as an intern and loved it so much that he changed his major, studied accounting, continued interning each summer with that company and eventually ended up working for them. While everyone’s experience with internships won’t be the same, internships can (and should) be a win-win situation for companies that hire and inspire the right intern.
Just from these two examples, it is plain to see that offering internships can be a useful component in your recruiting strategy. So if you’re not offering internships, consider the following:
1. Offering internships is a way of developing employees for a lifetime.
Interns are generally impressionable. They are looking for income and a glimpse at what they should or could do as a career. Use this unique opportunity to become part of someone’s success story. You never know what that intern will achieve later on, so inv
est early. Remember, someone made an investment in you to help you along.
2. Interns get to observe and learn in your Company’s culture.
While you are getting short term help, you can get a glimpse of how the intern is fitting with your current employees. The intern may also have enlightening feedback for you about your operation. Some fresh eyes may be very useful, adding valuable, diverse perspectives.
3. You get the opportunity to see the interns’ work habits.
Different jobs require different temperaments. Is this person high energy, steady, easily distracted, or not really interested in working at all? All of these questions can be answered using interns, and with potentially less risk to your unemployment insurance rate.
4. It makes you look good!
Hiring interns shows your community that you care. It shows the parents of the intern that you care. It shows your customer base that you care. It is an all-around good deal; you get inexpensive help and goodwill from persons outside your Company.
Depending on your business, hiring college interns can be a great idea. It does require some forethought to make it work for both of you; many companies have found it worthwhile. So, consider college internships as part of a comprehensive suite of HR solutions. And as I always say, if you are too busy, if you find the process too complicated, or if you just want it done right and right away, don't be afraid to use professional help.