As the days get warmer and the school year draws to a close, many students search for work to earn some extra money while their studies are on pause. Although summer jobs are beneficial on a transactional level, summer internships provide both financial and professional perks. Internships give students hands-on job experience in an industry related to their major.
For example, a finance major may intern at an investment firm, an engineering major may work for a semiconductor manufacturer, and a marketing major may try their hand at a marketing agency. Summer internships typically last eight to twelve weeks long and pay on average $16.45 per hour in the United States. While this resume-building activity is undoubtedly great for students, businesses benefit as well. In one of the tightest labor markets in history, companies can bridge their talent gaps with summer interns. Here’s how.
How To Design An Internship Program To Fill Talent Gaps
Many employers are struggling to find workers right now. This reality isn’t reserved for the retail industry either; it’s also affecting white-collar sectors. Software developers, project managers, accountants, and data scientists are a few of the most in-demand job types in 2022. If your company is a victim of the “great resignation” or fails to find top talent, summer interns could be the solution to your hiring woes. Here is how to design an internship program to fulfill your needs.
Give Your Interns Meaningful Assignments
When interns are portrayed in movies and television shows, they are often seen getting the boss coffee or doing other menial tasks. Although some companies treat their interns like glorified secretaries, you should avoid this behavior if you want to bridge your talent gap. One of the best ways to turn interns into full-fledged employees is by assigning them meaningful work. An internship should be a coaching opportunity for managers and executives. Try to focus on one or two projects that your organization needs help with and make the intern an integral part of its completion.
All projects assigned to interns should mirror tasks that they would do as an employee so that they can learn new skills, adapt to your company culture, and familiarize themselves with the preferred workflow. Additionally, provide interns with cross-organizational training opportunities and offer regular meetings to review their progress.
Make Interns Part Of The Company
If you want to convert your summer interns into top talent, it’s essential that they feel they are part of the company. An internship can almost feel like a temp job, where both you and the student are figuring out if there is a “fit.” To help them understand what it’s like to work for your company, treat them as though they are a real employee. Beyond giving them meaningful projects, include your summer interns in team meetings, on team email threads, and invite them to team-building events. The more you integrate them into your organization’s culture, the more secure they will feel in their role, and the more likely they are to accept a job offer at the end of the summer.
Mentor, Mentor, And Mentor Some More
Summer internships shouldn’t be treated as a nose-to-the-grindstone experience but rather a supportive learning opportunity. To make summer internships positive for both parties, managers should act as a constant source of support and inspiration. Encourage your interns to be honest and upfront, speak their minds, offer new ideas, or even challenge the status quo. Additionally, make mentorship a large component of your internship program. Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings with your interns to check in on their workload, answer questions and offer advice. Make sure they have the resources they need to be successful and offer them opportunities to increase their responsibilities in the organization.
Be Open & Honest
Another way to convert interns into top talent for your company is to be honest and open with them from the start. Make it clear from the beginning of the internship that you are looking for a full-time employee in the future. Regularly share information about your company and what it’s like to work there. Explain your health, retirement, paid-time-off benefits, and any other fun perks like free fitness memberships. A summer internship can be an opportunity for you to sell your company to a talented future employee.
Treat Them Well
Lastly, bridging your talent gap with summer interns can be as simple as treating them well.
While not all internships are paid, you should consider it if your ultimate goal is to attract full-time talent; you need to stand out from other companies. The best way to do that? Pay your interns a competitive wage, offer them perks like company discounts, and be flexible with time off.
Although many internships aren’t designed strategically to fill organizational gaps, that must be the new normal for companies looking to attract top talent.
Need help recruiting summer interns? Our seasoned recruiting team combines industry expertise with individualized attention to bring you high-quality talent. Contact us to get started.