Finding Talent Early – Why Working with Interns Helps You and Your Tech Community

Imagine the life of a graduate fresh out of university: many graduates have no idea what they want to do when they enter the professional world, and few are entirely decided on the career path they should choose. The job market has limitless options, and this can be overwhelming. Talented as they may be, fresh graduates can also find it challenging to communicate their abilities to potential employers.

Now put yourself in the position of a recruiter at a tech firm: they have one of the most important jobs at the company. The talent pool at a tech company must constantly be refreshed due to the innovative nature of the industry. Finding the perfect fit for the company can prove extremely difficult however, as the pool of eligible candidates is broad and varied. This can make the task of discovering those who can contribute positively to the business seem daunting.

This is where internship programs bridge the gap between hiring employers and students who have recently graduated. It can be approximately compared to sampling a new product on the market, like test driving a car. This period enables companies to test whether the graduates fit their vision, as well as their current team. This gives them insight into the prospects of potential employees for the firm.

University students greatly benefit from internship programs as well, as increasingly universities are encouraging students to take part in internships. They gain valuable work experience, new skills and a reference for their resume. Companies value such work experience and as such it is viewed as an attractive quality in a potential employee.

What is an Internship Program?

An internship represents a possible job opportunity for university students. Internships are a way for companies to trial aspiring recruits and for students to gain a better understanding of their chosen career path, possibly informing their goals.

Students are required to work a set number of hours per week for the company, typically on a part-time basis alongside their studies. Internships range in length from 2 weeks to 6 months and are sometimes mandatory as part of an educational program. Companies may offer paid employment to students after the internship period depending on their performance and contributions to the business.

Summer and winter internships are the most popular due to the scheduling of most educational programs. Companies commonly conduct recruitment drives on university campus’ at which students can learn about internship opportunities at the company. Internships involve a significant amount of training for the student whilst having them perform low-level tasks important for the business, allowing the student gains practical skills.

Benefits of Having Interns at Your Firm

1.    They Provide a New Perspective:

The corporate decision-making process is often rigid and uninspiring. This can affect employees by limiting their ability to think creatively and produce outside-the-box solutions, and this is one factor affecting millennials preference for working at startups instead of corporations. Interns provide fresh points of view at a firm, representing an outsiders perspective. This improves the overall efficiency of the business by creative problem-solving.

Brainstorming sessions are the perfect opportunity to observe interns in action. Their fresh eyes and recent university education often allows them to produce solutions pertaining to current trends. Their opinions deliver value when project planning and during product launch initiatives. Unfamiliar with the company, interns do not have established patterns or routines, allowing them to identify and resolve problems in unique ways.

2.    They Help Improve Social Media Strategy:

As innovations in technology continue to affect the way we communicate as a society, the younger generations accept these technologies as normal, and as such bring innovative ideas for their use to the forefront. Big corporations have identified that millennials and generation Z are more tech-savvy than ‘Baby Boomers’. This is because they grew up with digitalization as part of their daily lives.

This makes interns the best candidates for developing social media strategy. Interns are more aware of social media trends occurring in the market. Millennials and generation Z have grown up with the desire to be up-to-date with current social trends.

3.    They Can Be Retained for Permanent Jobs:

In each batch of graduates there will be strong candidates and weaker ones. Recruitment drives and the subsequent internship programs allow companies to identify those stronger candidates for potential employment opportunities.

A candidate with a higher level of performance has a greater chance of being hired by the company, and even if they are not employed by their internship company, they gain a competitive edge in the job market comes in the future. An internship program can be seen as a trial period for a company searching for employees who fit the company’s values and vision. Recruiters are also able to observe the work ethic of the candidate, and this is also a critical factor in choosing a candidate to employ.

A talented and diverse pool of new employees will ensure the company works to diversify its brands and innovate newer products and services. 

4.    They are Extra Help in Projects:

Interns are the best source of extra help on work projects, especially because the only cost associated with hiring them is the loss of man-hours associated with training them. They then make significant contributions towards completing projects for the company.

These projects represent a learning opportunity for the student as well, as for many these projects are their first time exercising practical skills. These real-world cases are substantially different than the theoretical learning a student practices at university. The company therefore helps create a learning space for interns to gain practical experience in the field.

Interns work with experienced employees on these tasks, fostering a kind of mentorship between them. This also offers a key learning opportunity for students as they understand the realities of professional life. At the same time, they gain contacts, establishing a professional network which will benefit them in the future.

5.    Your Employees become Leaders:

Interns represent a test for your employees. Employees in more junior positions get a chance to lead specific projects, instructing these interns and moulding them into potential candidates for the company. This also gives management the chance to discover the skills of their employees, and motivate them by giving them a leadership role.

The importance of the leadership role increases considering that your employees are essentially training a new generation of employees to take over the company’s operations in the future.

6.    Reduces your Workload:

Hiring interns assists in reducing the overall employee workload. Interns introduce fresh eyes and energy to be utilized when completing necessary tasks. They can affect the atmosphere in the office by relieving your overworked employees of some of their more tedious or mundane tasks.

By transferring some of the easier projects to these interns you not only witness their ability in action but also reduce the overall time taken. In this sense, the situation is beneficial to both parties.

Conclusion

Those industries working at the forefront of innovation, and in particular the tech community benefit from internship programs. They are able to acquire talent that is in line with the recent technological advances as interns have the most up-to-date educational background, making them invaluable assets to your team.

Successful internship programs are a substantial advantage for companies, acting as a trial period of the next batch of graduates. This allows companies to identify the most talented candidates before they enter the job market. A company’s strategy and ultimate performance depend upon the employees they are able to attract, as these employees are the key contributors to successes and breakthroughs that the company might achieve in the future.

Adequate training during the internship allows the company to produce ‘ready-made’ employees that require minimum amounts of guidance and are already aware of your business’ mission statement and the companies best practices. Management should look at internship programs as an investment rather than an undue cost, as they represent the future of the business.

blogphoto.png

Written by: Taylor Ryan

CMO at Valuer.ai

https://www.linkedin.com/in/taylorryan/

I've co-founded 5 startups. Currently the CMO of a venture backed Ai company Valuer.ai. Published a few marketing e-books. Consulted on SEO/SEM for 3+ years in the Washington, DC area. Grew up in Washington, DC but have been living in Copenhagen, Denmark for the past 3 years. Mentor, startup junkie, technical marketer, and growth hacker.