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  • Employers Report Internal Resistance to Virtual Internships

    April 17, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A hiring manager is skeptical about the value of a virtual internship.

    TAGS: best practices, operations, spotlight, talent acquisition, coronavirus

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    University relations and recruiting (URR) operations participating in NACE’s series of URR Virtual Roundtables report that some leadership and hiring managers are resistant to or unsure about having virtual interns, so the URR function is attempting to be more of an internal influencer and reassure key decision makers.

    Work in this area includes conveying the value of virtual internships to leaders, who want to understand what a “day in the life” of a virtual intern would look like, are requesting definitions for “meaningful work,” and want to know how virtual interns will be assessed before deciding how to proceed.

    This indecision is causing issues. One participant indicated that, from a timing standpoint, the shift to a virtual workplace for interns requires approval from the human resources and securities directors, and they need to address the security risk of having so many interns virtual.

    Decisions also must be made relatively quickly, participants note, because many interns have already arranged for housing and made deposits.

    Some of the work among URR professionals includes creating and distributing additional resources, training, and templates to lessen the burden of onboarding virtually. Others with larger, global operations are working to ensure that the decisions they make align with the countries involved and their different populations.

    One participant, stressing the importance of frequent and honest communication, recommends setting up a centralized mailbox and assigning team members to answer intern questions. Another details plans to assign interns a “buddy” to talk to every day and a mentor for weekly check ins. Interns need to feel like they are the organization’s top priority.

    Interns also need to feel confident in the organization. One participant noted that if companies can proceed and honor internships, they should. Organizations that rescind offers and aren’t agile in response to the pandemic do not inspire confidence and students feel as though they cannot count on the organization to come through for them. This could impact college recruiting in the future.

    NACE recently added additional virtual roundtables to the schedule: See www.naceweb.org/professional-development/2020/roundtable/virtual/university-relations-and-recruiting/we-are-nace/ for details and to register.