How to create a great internship programme

Orla Hodnett
Orla Hodnett

An internship program could be an indispensable part of your recruiting strategy. How can you easily implement an internship programme?

Internships are great. They give you a chance to trial potential full time hires before they graduate, to see if things are a right fit. It allows you to effectively demonstrate your culture and your values to various candidates. They can also help you build relationships with educational institutions.

Getting the internship experience right is essential. Not offering adequate compensation as well as not including the intern in valuable projects can negatively impact you organisation’s public profile. It can also impact your culture and ability to recruit. Here are a few things to keep in mind when putting together an internship programme.

Meaningful work

Many who have had an internship experience will joke about making coffee or performing boring, low-value tasks. If you’re serious about hiring an intern in a full-time role in future, it’s best for you, for the perception of your company’s culture, and for the candidate to include them in ongoing projects.

By including them in ongoing projects you will expose them to industry-relevant technologies and practises, which they may have a contribution to. By giving feedback to any participation in meaningful projects they will learn how your organisation works.

Coaching or a buddy system will help with training and education about industry practises

Coaching during the internship programme

This one is really important to include in any internship programme and you should include it in any onboarding efforts. Interns will be unlikely to have had much office experience, so lots of elements of a working office environment may be unfamiliar to them.

Coaching or a buddy system will help with training and education about industry practises, allowing interns to make a meaningful contribution to your team. It will also ensure that your organization is regarded as supportive and encouraging to those new in a particular industry.

Get in contact with universities

Getting in contact with universities and other third-level institutions will certainly help with any intern recruiting efforts. They will help you get in contact with students who are seeking internships in your industry.

Good relationships with educational institutions pay great dividends to organisations who reach out. A solid relationship will ensure that you have access to students and graduates with up-to-date skills.

Ensuring interns are happy in the workplace, and able to achieve balance will help with future recruiting efforts

Work-life balance

As stated already, the office environment and working day might be a complete change of pace for a student. They may be used to working to their own hours or studying late into the evening, so getting used to this change can be difficult.

Ensuring interns are happy in the workplace, and able to achieve balance will help with future recruiting efforts. By including them in any social activities with your team, you will help to foster loyalty and portray a positive company culture.  

Recruiting through 

A university student may not be accustomed to the usual practises in the recruiting industry. They may not be accustomed to formal application processes. They also may not be aware of industry publications, organisations or authorities, who may be able to support their job search. So you may need to take an innovative approach to recruiting.

With social media usage at such a high among millennials, it may be worth including in your strategy. As stated already, making contact with universities is another effective strategy. As budgets for hiring interns may be lower, innovation may mean saving money.

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