Running Your Business

The Guide to Recruiting Interns for Your Company: Where (and How) to Find the Best Ones


  • Many Fortune 500 companies retain around 80 percent of their interns for entry-level hires


  • Companies can benefit from interns because they can evaluate their performance before hiring them


  • Appeal to the best interns by offering compensation, perks and a guided career experience


Posted by April 17, 2019

Congratulations! You’re ready to start recruiting interns for your newly founded internship program. Its success will be determined by two factors: your ability to select the right people and adequately demonstrate that your company is a great place to start their career.

Internship programs also provide organizations with an opportunity to really get to know a candidate before hiring them—something that just isn’t possible through traditional interviews alone. To get the most out of your freshly minted program, here are some of the best-kept secrets about recruiting interns and why bringing them on is so valuable.

Benefits of an Internship Program

The company benefits of using interns are plentiful. According to Ross Blankenship, author of “Intern 3.0,” recruiting interns can help strengthen work culture, staff and save time on new hires. Being able to learn about a potential future hire based on their work in the internship program is a major plus.

On the flip side, interns are able to gain access to real-world job experience and earn college credits. This gives new grads a jump-start on their career goals. In many cases, companies issue bonuses and offer employment opportunities to high-performing interns. Because they’ve already worked with the company, this means they can progress faster if hired.

The Best Time to Recruit Interns

It’s been said that the best time to start recruiting interns is well before summer break. If students are not engaged in summer studies, this can be an opportune time for them to get started. However, the situation can differ for students who are taking classes online or who are in their junior or senior year of college.

Also, keep in mind that students will need time to acclimate to your corporate culture; likewise, you will need more time to evaluate their progress. Consider six months (or more) for the length of the internship, which means conducting recruitment efforts at least a year in advance of graduation.

The Intern Recruitment Process

Finding and recruiting interns is different from recruiting employees. Interns are young minds who are eager to start a new career, and the competition from other companies to obtain the top interns will be fierce. Follow these three tips for success.

1. Know Where (and How) to Find Interns

Start by creating an appealing corporate brand. Your career website, social networks and advertisements should align with this brand. Remember to speak to interns who are looking for a positive career experience.

When promoting internship opportunities, craft an effective description for every role first. Your internship description should include the following elements:

  • Location of the internship

  • Description of your organization

  • Intern duties and responsibilities

  • Requirements and qualifications

  • Student benefits of the internship

  • Schedule and length of internship

  • How to apply for the program

Focus on posting your internship advertisements to your internal job board, to your company’s social media accounts and at least one major job board. And don’t forget the value of referrals from current employees and job fairs.

2. Carefully Review Applications and Interviews

To vet intern applicants, use a standard application with a simple candidate assessment. Look past the resume and get to know interns on a deeper level. Ask them structured questions that are relevant to the internship and industry. You should also request that various managers and employees meet with potential interns and use this feedback to make the best selection possible.

3. Give Them Something to Buzz About

Make sure that every intern you bring on gets to experience what it’s really like to work for your company. Resist the temptation to use them as a coffee runner, and set them up for success—they could be working for you someday, after all! Interns can raise the brand awareness of your company as word gets out that you have a great program, so providing a valuable experience is key.

Learn how your company can benefit from interns and diverse benefits packages by exploring the depth of information provided on United Concordia Dental’s Benefits Bridge.

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