Tips for Launching a Successful Internship Program

By James Mitchell, Intern Solutions
Special Guest Contributor

Every year, thousands of college students apply for internships to get a leg up on the hiring process. They apply for these programs to enhance their professional skills, form relationships with other employees, and learn how they can contribute to the success of the company. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average conversion rate for interns is 58.6 percent. For interns and businesses alike, there are several factors that ensure a successful partnership. Here are some tips to make the hiring and onboarding process beneficial for everyone! 

The Recruitment Process

Internships are a one-time work experience that is typically related to a student’s major. Businesses should begin planning for an intern class the spring before fall recruiting. Hiring managers need to determine where the students will be placed and what projects they will be assigned. Proper planning ensures that the intern won’t be sitting idle or given the unrewarding tasks of getting coffee and making copies. When planned correctly, a successful internship will help minimize the company’s turnover rate and unlock the opportunity to screen potential employees prior to making a commitment.

Look for sophomore and junior students who have have strong communication skills and a desire to excel within the company. Offer a job description with great detail of the assignments they will be expected to complete and map out the length and timing of the internship experience. During the recruitment process, make sure you are aware of discrimination laws.

Create a Lasting Experience 

The main goal for your company should be to keep a strong intern presence within your organization to help achieve a high conversion rate. Through their performance, interns are “interviewing” for a full-time position. For this reason, they should be offered the chance to do the same work they would be doing as an entry-level hire. Interns should be given formal training while being exposed to the culture of the organization.

Close relationships should be formed with the executive leadership team and each intern should be looked at as if they are coming back as a permanent hire. Doing so will give the student a sense of belonging and inspire them to want to work for the company for many years to come. As interns grow professionally and develop relationships with other employees they become an investment that is a high source of entry level talent. Offers for full time employment should be offered within days of the internship program completion.

Compensation or Credit 

 A vital step in the planning process is discerning whether the internship will include compensation or not. Paid internships are preferred because it shows the intern that their skills and time are valued. Offering competitive wages also opens the door to a wider applicant pool because the financial needs of the student will be met. Unpaid internships are common, however they are diminishing because of certain legal stipulations. For example, unpaid interns cannot do any work that contributes to the company’s operations which includes documenting inventory, responding to emails and filing papers.
It is important to note that an unpaid internship does not lessen the quality of the program. Unpaid internships generally offer academic credit towards the student’s graduation requirements. They also help students find a clear career path if they are uncertain of which direction to go in after graduation. Also, as with paid internships, there is still an opportunity to advance to a full time position within the company.

It’s no secret that today’s job market is tight. Because of this, internships are becoming a prerequisite for many full time opportunities. The reward for students is the chance to gain real world experience and have access to contacts in their field of interest. Employers benefit a great deal as well by having the cream of the crop right at their fingertips. Successful internship programs are an absolute necessity to form lasting partnerships between extremely talented individuals and companies!


Intern Solutions offers practical tools and resources to help educators, employers, and students with the internship process. Learn more!

[#100BGVanguard] How Golden State Warrior Andre Iguodala Became The NBA’s Ambassador To Silicon Valley

via Fast Company
In the past, the relationship between players and companies was fairly simple: Athletes got paid handsomely to endorse brands or products such as shoes, beverages, and cars. These days, the endorsement game is still important, but rise of entrepreneurship—especially in a place like Silicon Valley—presents new opportunities. Players who are willing to take some risk by accepting equity in exchange for endorsement or other involvement in a company can make far more than they would with the traditional cash-for-service arrangement of previous generations of athletes. 

[video] Dame Dash on Eliminating the Middleman, Business Plans vs Proof of Concept

[March Book Share] Three Books You Should Read This Month

I kicked off the new year with these books and there were plenty of gems I took from each one. If you check them out let me know what you think.

Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny
When it comes to money, are you controlled by fear?
Do you underestimate your worth?
Are you ready to go to the next level, but can't seem to get there?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be an underearner. Underearners are self-saboteurs who don't live up to their earnings potential, says Barbara Stanny, a financial educator, motivational speaker, and career counselor. Whether they make $10 an hour or six figures a year, they tend to live paycheck to paycheck, are often in debt, and have a high tolerance for low pay. Ironically, many work incredibly hard. The good news is that underearning is a self-imposed condition. By focusing on overcoming it, underearners will not only earn what they deserve, but live a richer life. With techniques and exercises that have helped thousands of people, Stanny teaches five essential steps to financial independence and brings a message of empowerment to all those who chronically undervalue themselves.

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
Did you know, for example, that 20 percent of customers account for 80 percent of revenues? That 20 percent of our time accounts for 80 percent of the work we accomplish? The 80/20 Principle shows how we can achieve much more with much less effort, time, and resources, simply by identifying and focusing our efforts on the 20 percent that really counts.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k by Mark Manson
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.