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As the end of the year approaches, it’s the perfect time to start thinking ahead to next year’s internship programmes. Not only can you start tinkering with what did and didn’t work, but you can start looking for ways to leverage your intern pool to build your talent network to help offset the current labour shortage.
iCIMS’ group of 40 rock star interns spent last summer completing important projects across the organisation while honing the skills they’ll need to succeed in their careers, according to Mackenzie Egan, Director of Talent Experience at iCIMS.
This year, iCIMS’ intern programme was named one of the top 100 in the country by WayUp, joining the likes of Lumen, CitiGroup, and Twitter. In particular, iCIMS was highlighted for developing a curriculum of classes on sought-after skills like sharing and receiving feedback and cultivating a next-level professional brand.
Internship programmes aren’t only great CV builders for students that give them a head start on their careers. They are also a valuable source of top talent for recruiters to fill future roles. Your internship programme can be a critical building block for creating your talent network.
For years, TA professionals have focused on bringing candidates into the talent funnel instead of taking advantage of talent that’s already there. Of course, this means silver medal candidates and passive job seekers. But it can also be applied to interns.
Competition for top talent is fierce. According to iCIMS’ recent jobs report, the current hiring boom has created stiff competition for employers trying to fill more and more roles with a dwindling pool of applicants.
“If you approach an internship programme as a workforce planning strategy, aside from providing a career-centric learning opportunity for the students, you’re also building an important talent pool,” says Egan.
By retaining talent already in your hiring funnel, you’re one step closer to filling open positions with early career talent that your team has already vetted. But you’ll need to keep their eyes on you and not let them get distracted by other recruiters’ dangling offers.
Take a page from consumer marketers and consider treating those potential candidates like customers by developing brand loyalty that keeps them engaged with your organisation.
Think of your interns as your brand ambassadors who will share their experience working for your company with their networks via social media and word-of-mouth. Consider having interns create video content addressing topics like company culture or sharing their experience in your programme that you can post on your early career site or social media platforms.
Above all, you want to make sure their experience is a positive one. Here are some best practices to consider while planning for next year’s programmes to make memorable impressions on your interns:
Even after you’ve wished all your interns well and they’ve headed back to campus, there’s still an advantage to keeping them engaged and informed.
Ongoing engagement not only builds a diverse and highly skilled workforce but a community of potential customers. Here are some ideas for how you can keep your interns engaged, which can build your talent network and help reduce your time to fill:
Keeping your intern pool engaged following a positive experience working in their roles is a smart way to tap into talent already in your hiring funnel for future open positions.
“TA professionals know how hard it is to secure the right talent,” says Egan. ”A well-thought-out internship programme provides managers with a preview of the next class of graduates. It is the perfect opportunity to engage and hire early career talent before they hit the workforce.”
Rethink traditional candidate pools by creating your own talent network.
If you want to keep your intern pipeline engaged after heading back to campus, download this infographic.