Spring is the time for recruiting interns aka soon-to-be college graduates, but it’s also the time when most college students are searching for summer internships. According to NACE's 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey, internships and co-ops are on the rise. More and more companies are seeing the value of internships: 75% of employers with internships surveyed said the main goal of these programs was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions. Though the oldest members of Generation Z (those born between 1994 and 2010) are entering the workforce, Gen Z students just beginning their college careers are highly sought as interns for their tech-savviness and social media skills.
This short and simple guide to recruiting interns can help you understand how to target Gen Z students and why they make valuable interns who eventually could be excellent full-time employees.
1. Use College Job Portals and Career Centers. Most colleges and universities have a careers portal where students can search for job postings, and this will be their first stop when they begin looking for an internship. Developing relationships with local colleges and their career center employees will help you source a broader group of viable intern applicants, and college faculty and staff are more likely to recommend students for internships that they’re familiar with and trust.
2. Boost Referrals. If you already have an established internship program, foster relationships with current and previous student interns and encourage them to refer friends to the program. To really sweeten the deal, offer prizes as referral bonuses when interns refer other students.
3. Connect on Social Media. Recruiting Gen Z means you need to get on their level and join social media. Although some students may already be using LinkedIn, it’s more likely that they’re surfing Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram for potential job openings. Use social media to show the younger generation how interesting the workplace can be, and they’ll be intrigued to learn more.
4. Have a Presence on Internship Websites. Students searching for an internship may check well-known internship search websites like Looksharp and Internships.com after they’ve exhausted their college’s job portal. Although intern-specific websites would be their first choice, they’ll also review other common job listing sites like Indeed and Monster, so make sure job descriptions are well-distributed and, most importantly, interesting.
5. Get Their Attention with HR Tech. Interviewing technology that features on-demand video and text interviewing is a quick, efficient, mobile-first way to engage Gen Z students. Include a link when you socialize internship positions inviting them to complete a short on-demand video interview, or reach them with on-demand text interviewing. You’ll make an impression with Gen Z as a technology-forward organization while you build your internship talent pool.
Up the Value of Internships to Your Organization
Much like new grads, college students are still learning professional skills and behavior. By recruiting interns, companies have the opportunity to teach them, and perhaps more importantly, to shape them into high-performing employees.
Many of these students may have never had a job before, so an internship is their first taste of the workplace – make it count. Help them learn your industry and when they’ve gathered more experience and earned their degree, hire them full time. You’ll have a new employee who’s truly engaged and already knowledgeable about your organization’s culture and workplace processes.
Updated content. Blog originally published by Greenjobinerview in March 2016.