Your next young gun could be the kid licking envelopes in the corner. The only trouble is, she’s licking envelopes in the corner.
If your internship program is run primarily as a source of cheap (read free) labour you may be saving yourself a few bucks in wages, but at the same time you might be overlooking a great opportunity: interns can turn into an incredible resource when properly cultivated.
According to US-based HR trainer Karla Palmer, how interns are treated during an internship can be the difference between quickly and easily taking on a quality graduate after they’ve finished their studies, and having to sink unnecessary money into grad recruitment. “Why not make the most out of your company’s internship program and use it as an opportunity to find your next star?” she asked.
Reach out early
With good reason, professional sports teams often begin scouting high school students. They want to secure the next Kieran Perkins or Cathy Freeman before the competition. It should be the same for HR, but it often isn’t. Even if they don’t intend to hire them right away, sports teams make themselves aware of future potential.
If a qualified high school or university student has an interest in the type of business you run, why not have him or her come in once or twice a week and learn about what goes on in the company? Reaching out early will give you the opportunity to really develop your interns. By the time they graduate, you will know how to best utilize them as an employee.
It’s widely accepted that a company is only as successful as the employees who work for it. Building relationships with your interns will help make them feel vested in the company. Make an effort to speak with interns and listen to what they have to say. Ask for their ideas on the work that’s being done. Assign them real tasks so you can see what they are capable of. Give interns a chance to work on projects that excite them, such as social media implementation. The more that you put into your interns, the better suited they will be for employment.
Page two: Interns as brand ambassadors