Matt Arnerich works as a content writer at the UK’s leading graduate recruitment agency Inspiring Interns. If you’re looking to hire a graduate, or interested in graduate careers advice, take a look at their site!
You may have discussed it at a few meetings, got people interested, and started to scope out the sort of tasks that could be handed over. But what is it that will convince you to take the plunge and add to your growing business with a round of interns? What’s the real benefit in looking at young university students for internships or graduate jobs with little to no experience in the world of work?
Lots, as it turns out. With a well implemented hiring process, and careful thought about the sort of tasks and projects they could work on, starting an internship scheme can be hugely valuable to your business.
Like any recruitment process, getting the right staff will be key to the success, but there are, by and large, a number of factors that will improve your business across the board.
Find Your Next Hires
One of the main reasons why you should consider starting an internship program is that it’s a great way to evaluate young people who you might want to hire in the future. In fact, studies show that almost two thirds of top companies look to hire graduates who have already worked at the company in one way or another previously.
Internships are a great way to vet potential employees, whether during a summer work placement or graduate internship, because you get to see their work ethic, skillset and how they fit into the company culture, without being tied into a long term contract.
Many companies now choose to use internships as probation periods for a full contract, and if you’re just using interns as a stop-gap, or a cheap way to fill a skills shortage, you’re probably not getting the most out of them. You’re probably wasting time and money training and supporting them if you have no intention of getting a return on the investment longer term.
As a result of using internships as an evaluation period, they can be a great alternative to choosing a senior hire precisely because the risk involved is less. While you will be spending time and money on training, they’re normally a more cost effective strategy than gambling on an expensive hire.
Harness their youthful energy and enthusiasm in the right role, and you may even find that you’ll achieve more value than someone who has years of experience in the field.
When asked what they valued most in their interns, the answer for graduate employers was unanimous, with over 50 per cent hailing their fresh way of thinking and original ideas. As a growing business, introducing new staff who are able to challenge the established way of thinking and working is a great way to prevent stagnation, and stop ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ syndrome.
Whether it’s because they are from a different generation to the majority of your workforce, or that they are actively involved in study, a proactive and interested intern will be able to challenge you as a business. Perhaps most importantly, the fact that they’ve spent a limited amount of time in a business environment means they won’t come in with established practices and will have an open mind to new and interesting ways of working.
Quick To Adapt
This lack of experience also comes in useful if you’re looking for someone to fill a flexible, adaptive position. By having no established work practices, interns are likely to adopt new work practices easily, and perform a number of tasks at the same time.
Also, interns will see the time at your company as an opportunity not just to impress but to learn as much as they can, so good hires will be keen to spend their time actively searching out new learning opportunities and find ways of adding value to the business.
For this reason, it can be a great opportunity to have interns working on a new project, or completing an old project that’s been in the pipeline for some time. They’ll value completing tangible accomplishments and you’ll be able to gain a clear return on investment immediately.
Make Exciting Hires
Always wanted to hire that student that just rocks up at the front desk or cold calls the office selling themselves? Or maybe you’ve always been interested in getting someone in to work on a new angle or branch of the business?
The opportunity to hire someone with an unusual skillset or someone who you’ve just got the ‘feeling’ about is the reason why many companies choose to start an internship program. The reduced risk and potential for fresh ideas makes internships a particularly good chance to hire on potential.
Free Brand Awareness
Guess what? Young hires loves to talk about their latest work opportunities, it’s always good bragging rights with friends and a good chance to get a few concerned relatives off their back. As a result, they can be great (and more importantly, free) brand advocates if you are providing them with a fun, supportive environment.
Opportunity To Nab The Top Talent
Particularly across digital, creative and tech, young people are increasingly entering the job market as hot property. The top talent will have used their time at university to expand their knowledge and skills, and may find themselves leaving university ready to be snapped up by some of the top companies in the world.
How do you get to this top level of talent? Get to them early! Many graduates are now shunning big business for a start-up environment or growing company where they can have genuine influence. By recognising and acquiring the best talent at an early stage, you’ll be able to work with and impress some high level candidates that may not have otherwise re-entered the job market for some time.