Most students would agree that finding a summer internship is a great opportunity, but many employers look far beyond just the internship when recruiting for the summer. Although students may be focused on only finding a summer internship, employers often have more long-term goals in mind and are looking to use this time and the training it takes to build on its future workforce.
It is well known that most employers use their internship pool of candidates first when considering new hires to fill full-time positions within the company. Internships are in a sense a way to interview and train the next set of new hires for the organization. What better way to know how a person is going to perform and fit into an organization than to have them already doing work for the company in the form of a summer internship?
Internship as a Useful Stepping Stone
Many recruiters visit college campuses each year to select the most talented and brightest college students for their internship program. They often visit them early in the fall semester to make a decision on the following summer's intern candidates. In the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) 2012 Internship & Co-op Survey, it was reported that more than 40% of the total expected number of new hires for 2011-2012 were expected to come from a company’s internship program.
It was also reported from NACE’s 2012 Student Survey that approximately 60% of college graduates in 2012 who completed a paid internship received at least one job offer. On the other hand, only 37% of unpaid interns received job offers while 36% of students with no internship experience received offers upon graduating from college. These numbers are significant if you are a college student seeking to find full-time employment based on your internship experience. Organizations that participated in NACE’s Survey reported three keys that they use in successfully hiring interns:
- Hire interns early, oftentimes during the fall semester of the previous year.
- Assign interns with real work assignments, treating them as if they were already an important part of the team.
- Provide interns with compensation and benefits to make them feel invested in the company and that their work efforts are noticed and appreciated.
Students who are lucky enough to land an internship with a company that is looking to hire the majority of their interns from their internship program should make sure they do everything possible to be successful in their role as an intern since this can significantly increase their chances of getting hired. Even if what you are doing as an intern isn’t exactly what you want, there may be other positions within the company that would be a better fit. As an intern, it’s important to develop relationships with people both within and outside of your department, since you never know where an opportunity may present itself.