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5 Simple Ways to Attract the Best Intern Talent

Written by Angela Finding

If you’re considering starting an intern program, you’ve likely thought about the quality of interns you’re going to receive. About 10 percent of college students eventually land an internship, which is an enormous number of candidates—and many of them are only interested because they’ll get college credit.

Whether you’re looking for a strong potential hire in the future, or a capable pair of hands to have on deck right now, you want the best intern talent you can find. So how do you get it?

  1. Start early. There’s no such thing as “internship season,” though most students try to align their internships with a fall or spring semester, or to fill the summer gap between classes. Generally, you’ll want to advertise the internship up to three months before your target start date, but there’s no harm in starting early. In fact, some employers post five or six months in advance, to appeal to students before they schedule classes for the next semester. The earlier you start, the more total candidates you’ll attract—and you’ll also end up attracting more proactive candidates early.
  2. Get personal. Try to make the internship application and interview processes as friendly and personal as possible. This will help you gauge the personalities of your intern candidates, and find the best fit for your organization. It will also acclimate your intern to your work environment, and start your relationship with the right tone.
  3. Be straightforward. Don’t sensationalize your internship; be straightforward about what responsibilities it comes with and what your intern candidates are going to take away from the process. Be concise and honest in your job descriptions, and throughout the interview period.
  4. Add value. As much as you’d like to get value from your intern through work and future possibilities, your job is to add value to their lives. Offer a reasonable pay rate, offer in-depth training and education, and make your program appealing. It will help you naturally attract more interested, energetic candidates.
  5. Cultivate a program. Finally, don’t focus on hiring just one intern. Create an entire internship program, that you can use again and again. This will help you make better long-term decisions, and will help you collect feedback and improve your program over time.

These five tips will help you find the best possible intern talent, no matter what kind of business you offer. The more experience you have finding and developing interns, the better you’re going to get, so the longer you spend on your internship program development, the better.

Be sure to check out our Internship Guidebook for employers!

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