Full-Service HR

Summer Intern Recruiting Strategies

Ella Baker
Summer Intern Recruiting Strategies
Reading time 4 Mins
Published on Jan 28

Summer internship programs, whether paid or unpaid, provide significant benefits for employers. Beyond the immediate advantage of having extra hands on projects, you’ll also have access to the next generation of talent who already have familiarity with your company. For a small or mid-size business, entering the intern game may seem intimidating. Working with colleges to connect with students, developing job descriptions for summer positions, and attending job fairs is par for the course for hiring an intern, but the process isn’t really so different from recruiting and hiring traditional employees. If you’re thinking about, or ready to start your recruiting for an intern, here are a few of the things you’ll need to consider.

Interns need job descriptions too

Before you ever start the recruiting process, you must first determine what your needs are and the duties and roles that interns will fill within the company. Even though they’re just with you temporarily, thoughtfully crafted job descriptions will offer your interns and your company the greatest benefit from your program.

Some companies have specific projects that interns work out throughout the summer, while others rotate between departments to learn different tasks within the company. Whatever tasks you assign to your interns, be sure that you have a designated member of management to check in at least weekly with your interns. Since many companies use their internship program to evaluate potential long-term employees, your interns should feel like their work is providing a meaningful contribution to your company.

Get the word out

Whether you’re recruiting from specific campuses or opening your internship program up to a wider pool, you’ll need to advertise your program. On campus, you should work with the career centers on campus to ensure that you’re following the protocols and timelines for intern recruitment at specific schools.

Don’t just rely on college internship postings to spread the word though. Utilizing social media to advertise your program gives you greater reach and a larger pool of potential talent. On Facebook, be sure to post about your internship program not only on your page but to share and cross-post to draw the attention of students. If your company has a blog, put it to work to share more details about your program and share the post across your social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Put yourself in front of students

The personal touch is a must when recruiting interns, especially for small and mid-size businesses who may not have the name recognition or prestige of Fortune 500 companies. Generate excitement about your internship program by attending campus recruitment events like career fairs and meet and greets with management. You may even check in with professors about making classroom presentations. Talk to schools’ career services offices about events that you may be able to sponsor or take part in to spread the word about your program and meet potential interns. You could even host a coffee happy hour at your location and invite interested students to attend, offering tours of your offices and one-on-one or small group meetings with management and HR staff.

Timetables are important

Most summer internships run from early June through the end of August, but recruitment and selection begin much earlier. Be sure that you notify students when you’ll begin accepting applications and when the posting closes. Post this information on campus internship recruiting boards, through campus career services, on your website, and anywhere else you’ve posted the opportunity. Generally, application periods begin in the winter and are open for 30 to 60 days. This allows you plenty of time to interview and vet potential interns.

Once you’ve narrowed down the applicant pool and decided which students you’ll offer internships to, you’ll need to notify them as soon as possible. Since many students apply to at least a few different programs, early notification will give you a better chance of landing your top choices.

Have a clear plan

Landing a top intern for your organization requires having a clear plan for how you’ll recruit and utilize that talent. Interns learn new skills and practical experience from your company while offering fresh ideas and perspectives on your business – a definite win-win situation.

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