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  • How, When Employers Find Their Interns and Co-Ops

    September 13, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    An intern smiles.

    TAGS: internships, trends and predictions, surveys, nace insights, co_ops

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    From where do employers source their interns and co-ops? And when do they start the recruiting process?

    In 2017, employers sourced approximately half of their interns and co-ops from open applications and about 40 percent directly from their contacts at career centers, according to NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Report. (See Figure 1.)

    On the other hand, few employers—only about 10 percent—sourced interns and co-ops directly from faculty contacts.

    In terms of timing, employers began the recruiting process for interns an average of eight months prior to their internship program’s start date. For co-ops, this window was more narrow at six months.

    By company size, larger employers generally started recruiting both interns and co-ops earlier than did smaller employers. In fact, the smallest employers—those with 500 or less employees—started recruiting interns just four months in advance.

    NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey was conducted from November 21, 2016, to February 17, 2017, from NACE employer members; there were 276 respondents, representing 26.4 percent of all eligible respondents. The 2017 Internship & Co-op Report is available to participants through MyNACE. An executive summary is available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: Sources of Intern and Co-op Hires

      Source of Hire 2016 2017
    Interns Direct career center contacts 39.6% 40.0%
    Direct faculty contacts 7.9% 9.5%
    Open applications 52.4% 50.5%
    Co-ops Direct career center contacts 52.2% 43.9%
    Direct faculty contacts 7.7% 9.2%
    Open applications 40.1% 47.0%
    Source: 2017 Internship & Co-op Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers