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  • Internship Issues, Solutions, Best Practices

    December 11, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    An intern is shown.

    TAGS: best practices, internships, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    In November, NACE facilitated a conference call among employer members of the NACE Community to discuss issues, solutions, and best practices in their internship programs. Following are some of the points of discussion:

    Intern Referrals

    • A recruiter at a large company says that its internship candidates from employee referrals and those sourced by human resources are subjected to similar hiring processes. All candidates are required to formally apply, go through an initial screening, and complete a virtual interview. This enables hiring managers to see how their referrals stack up against the well-qualified applicants sourced by the internship program.
    • One recruiter reported doing away with his organization’s internal referral program as it hampered efforts to improve the diversity of its interns.
    • One employer in the process of rebuilding its internship program mitigates the issue of hiring managers finding their own interns by asking them also to interview internship candidates from the formal pipeline. Doing so ensures hiring managers see candidates who have been formally sourced and vetted for the internship; in contrast, referrals are often not sourced formally and may not have the appropriate skill set or other attributes needed for the internship. This approach—having hiring managers compare the vetted candidate with the referral—has been successful, with managers often choosing those coming through the formal pipeline.

    Collecting Data

    • At one organization, ROI tracking is primarily campus or event driven. Recruiters use spreadsheets to track the budgets for each campus, plus overhead costs. The number of hires from each program is tallied and then a cost-per-hire is developed. Over time, recruiters can see which events produced the best results, so that recruiters can focus on specific areas rather than spreading their efforts across campus. In addition, demand for particular majors was added into the data. The recruiter also looks at the competition for a major. For example, engineering majors are harder to capture and hire than liberal arts majors, so the university recruiting team spends more time on engineering recruiting.

    Intern Conversion

    • An organization laments that because the fiscal year begins in May, hiring managers had been unable to forecast the number of new hires they needed. As a result, the organization lost interns and recruiters would have to go back to campus to recruit. Its solution was to look at historical hiring (over the last two or three years) and ask managers to use those statistics as a basis. How many hires did they make year-over-year? What was the turnover rate in those positions?
    • To retain interns as potential hires between the end of the internship and graduation, one company keeps them engaged. Junior consultants call candidates/interns on a monthly basis, and the company brings interns in for special workshops and invites them to holiday gatherings. In addition, the company educates interns about the delay between the internship and a job offer, and leaves them with expectations that as soon as the organization’s new budget goes into effect, an offer will be extended. A personal relationship between someone in the organization and the intern is an important element to successful conversion.

    Notes from the call can be accessed through the NACE Community. (See the NACE Community Library > Internships folder.) Conference calls among NACE’s employer members to discuss issues, solutions, and best practices for internships will be held quarterly. To be notified of upcoming calls and to participate, please contact Claudia Allen, NACE’s social media and communities manager.