These 3 Things Will Resonate With Potential Interns

As a recent intern-turned-full-timer and recruitment marketer, intern recruitment strategy hits close to home. By taking the time to really understand an intern’s point of view, you can then take the steps to specifically demonstrate how your company addresses their interests and needs.

The result: Candidates will be able to make a more informed decision about their young careers, ultimately improving your candidate quality in the long run.

Do you remember applying for your first “real” job? Imagine yourself as a prospective college intern. Really, try to picture it. You are in the middle of your junior year of college, starting to get that knot in the pit of your stomach as you realize those four years you had to figure out what you wanted to do with your life are passing a little faster than you thought they would. Professors and advisors and career counselors and your parents and that a-little-too-opinionated-guy in your Thursday afternoon lecture are all preaching the importance of internships day in and day out, and suddenly you realize that fun summer job you’ve had since you were 16 just isn’t going to cut it this year.

So after making yourself a bowl of cereal for dinner for the third time this week, you log onto Google and begin your search. What are you looking for?

Let’s check out three specific recruitment marketing topics that really resonate with interns, companies that are doing them well, and tips to capture these stories among your own interns, too.

Will my work have a meaningful impact?

Depending on course load and other personal responsibilities, some students really only have one or two chances to gain the real-world experience that will help guide their professional careers. That’s a lot of pressure to pick the right one, pressure you as a recruiter can minimize by being specific and authentic in your messaging.

Intern candidates want to hear from your current interns about exactly what kind of projects they will be working on and, more importantly, how that work impacts the company as a whole. They want to ensure the time they spend as a part of your organization will truly help them grow themselves as professionals.

Ask your intern storytellers, “Can you walk me through a project you were a part of?” Then, “What role did you specifically play in that project?” And finally, “How did that project impact the company’s mission and strategy as a whole?”

What engagement will I have with others around the organization?  

Students use internships to test out the waters of a potential career and explore their different interests and skillsets. They’re looking for people and conversations that can provide insight into their aspirations. An environment where an intern can have more than 100 networking sessions around the organization is a major win for a prospective intern. Find those stories in whatever way — big or small — they exist in your organization.

Ask your interns, “Who has been most influential to your development during your internship?” and “Have you developed any skills outside of your specific role?” These kinds of questions will lead you to the holy grail of intern recruiting content…

How will this impact my future career?

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When it comes down to it, internships serve two large purposes. One, as an opportunity for organizations to gain temporary talent and gauge them as potential long-term members of their firm. And two, to help the intern determine the next steps in their career.

What types of projects do they want more of? Which leadership styles do they respond well to? What do they want to do next, and who is going to help them get there?

If you are an organization that converts interns into full-timers, candidates want to hear that.

Find your team members who began as interns, and capture their career paths. How did they transition? Did they receive any training that prepared them to be a full-time team member? Was there a particular moment or project where they realized this is where they wanted to begin their careers?

If your organization does not typically hire interns full-time, that’s fine too! What fields do your interns typically end up working in after they graduate? Does your organization have any initiatives to help them reach their goals?

Frontiers is proud of its interns that went on to work at competing publishing firms such as The Royal Society and Springer Nature; so proud, in fact, that it actually removed its non-compete clause from its contracts in 2015 to allow for a seamless transition.

Keep in touch with your current class, and reach out a few months after they begin working full-time somewhere. You may be surprised to hear just how impactful their internships were to their careers, stories that will really resonate with your next round of talent.

Intern candidates have different priorities and needs than veterans do, or than senior leadership does. Authentically address what they want to hear, and you’ll be doing both the intern and yourself a favor.

Bernadette Launi is member of the Stories Incorporated team, working with best-in-class and emerging employer brands like CVS Health and EliteSEM to bring their cultures to life through storytelling. In the role of client development and success, she has a direct hand in the creation of content that authentically reflects the employee experience. She also writes about employer branding topics throughout the company's various channels, and most recently has joined ATAP as a talent writer. She is a recent graduate of The Catholic University of America and loves to learn and write about all things talent acquisition and employer branding!

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