Internship Programs: High Stakes, High Rewards 

January 18, 2019 11:05 AM
 
The internship is a cornerstone of the modern college labor market.

By Kristi Sproul, AgCareers.com Education and Recruitment Marketing Specialist

The internship is a cornerstone of the modern college labor market. Over the last several years, the majority of employers with internship programs indicated the primary focus of these programs was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions. 

Happy and professionally fulfilled interns are a critical component of an organization’s recruitment success. Students who spend their internship feeling like a valued employee demonstrate a higher level of enthusiasm about the organization and are often eager to accept full-time position offers. Conversely, interns that have a negative experience are less likely to recommend the organization to friends and will not consider pursuing a full-time position with the group.  

The stakes are high with internship programs. You have budget allocated, people invested and a future talent pipeline to build! The chance to build an engaged pipeline of talent for your organization is an unmatched opportunity that warrants dedicated preparation time. Be aware of what today’s students desire from an internship so that your organization can be prepared to deliver a remarkable experience that will translate to retainment of top talent.   

Converting interns to new hires should be top of mind for every organization. After all, you’ve already invested considerably in these students. Interns who convert to full-time hires are more productive faster as they know your systems, procedures and culture. Employers with better-than-average rates of converting interns to full-time hires (64% and up) report the keys to their successful intern-to-hire programs are to look, give, highlight and communicate.

•    Look for the same traits when hiring interns as you do for entry-level hires.
•    Give interns meaningful work and a competitive wage.
•    Highlight the company culture throughout the internship and help them find a good fit.
•    Communicate, communicate, communicate. 

AgCareers.com is eager to help your organization build an internship program that leaves a positive impression on your student hires. Our insight is derived from working hand in hand with students, as well as the AgCareers.com Internship Benchmark Survey that surveys more than 600 interns annually. 

We’re hosting a two-part virtual workshop titled “Internship Programs for Success” that is geared toward human resources professionals, internship coordinators, managers of interns and senior leadership. This workshop will be beneficial to not only organizations who are new to building internship programs, but also those that recognize there is room for improvement within their existing program. 

Part one will kick off March 1 and focus on the do’s and don’ts of successful internship programs. We will share what interns are saying organizations are getting wrong and what they are doing right. Participants will learn how to overcome those destructive practices and identify ways to build on areas of strength. This hour-long session will provide unique solutions and advice directly relayed from students through the 2018 Internship Benchmark Survey. 

The workshop will resume March 4 with part two which will focus on those responsible for managing or interacting with interns. These personal interactions are what can make or break the internship in the mind of the student. Understanding the critical role that the manager or mentor contributes to the success of the internship program, both present and in the future, is often overlooked.  

In one hour this session will dive deeper into tips specifically for managers and mentors of interns that can help to form a productive working relationship. When students return to campus, you want them to say good things about their experience and the manager/mentor relationship is the number one way to influence what is said.

As mentioned, AgCareers.com annually conducts the Internship Benchmark Survey. This survey report provides a company with a student evaluation of the internship program in an industry benchmarking format. The survey responses provide positive and constructive feedback from interns both at the beginning and end of their experience. This two-prong approach allows for specific questions relevant to recruitment and onboarding as well as the wrap-up process. The fact that the survey is conducted by AgCareers.com rather than your organization allows interns to provide more open and honest responses. 

The virtual workshop and survey are both critical steps in investing in a successful internship program and will be a great learning opportunity for those that oversee interns within your organization. If you are interested in participating in either, please email agcareers@agcareers.com or check out the details at www.AgCareers.com. 


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