January 22, 2013
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2. Have an on campus presence
It’s common for students to never venture far beyond campus, so you need to go to them. Develop a relationship with campus career services. Connect to student organizations, sponsor events that put you in touch with students, and let them know your company exists. Students are looking for great internships and there are opportunities to talk about your internship program at job fairs, speaking engagements, and as a guest lecturer.
3. Reflect the value your company can offer student interns
Though U.S. companies are not hiring as much new talent as recent grads would like, top students do not usually have trouble finding jobs. You want these students to know about your company and appeal to what they are looking for. Determine what your company has to offer: experience, benefits, fun company culture, quirky events, flexible schedules, food truck visits to the office, late starts, local coffee, etc. No company is perfect, but decide what makes yours unique and promote it.
4. Utilize internship websites
Search for highly qualified talent on websites such as Intern Sushi, Intern Match and Urban Interns.
Qualities to Look for When Hiring Student Interns
Once you have started connecting with students in your area, you will hopefully have the wonderful problem of sorting through a lot of great resumes. Here are a few qualities to look for:
1. Company culture fit
Find people that exhibit personalities and character traits you want to work around and who will be a pleasant addition to your company. If someone is gifted but they do not fit the culture of the company, they will inevitability have slow progress, or it will be a negative experience for them. For example, highly structured individuals could have trouble connecting in an unstructured environment where self-initiative and flexibility are key. Find people who fit your culture, and the experience will be richer for both of you.
Driven, hard-working interns are essential to your internship program’s success. Besides getting more work done, ambitious interns tend to be the ones who will share new ideas and seek to add value to your small business.
3. Skill set
Know specifically what your small business needs and seek individuals who can contribute to those areas. Interns can help out in a variety of ways, but make sure you hire where there is a benefit to your company and to the intern. Look for mutually beneficial hires, and you will have a more productive and enjoyable work environment.
The time is right to bring interns into your company. Students tend to look for internship opportunities at the beginning of each semester and for the summer. Students are looking for opportunities now. Make sure your company is at the top of their list.
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Heidi Fuhrman is the Director of Possibilities for Columbia, MO-based The League of Innovators, an organization that seeks to spark entrepreneurship and creativity through events (i.e. Startup Weekend), the Downtown Incubator, and connecting innovators to area resources and experts.
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