Graduating from college, I didn’t work an internship, they weren’t offered. They weren’t a tool utilized at my college. Also, my potential employers, all six of them that offered me positions, hadn’t chosen that route of evaluating potential hires.
In the last 20 years, using interns as a recruitment tool has become more common place, but they are usually geared at the hard to fill areas like engineering. Both my sons, now engineers, worked at internships, one joining on at the company he interned at. Outside engineering, they are looked at as an opportunity to get some cheap labor.
Today’s savvy employers, recognize that interns are an opportunity to recruit, assess their own operations, and yes, give something back to the colleges that have been supplying a steady stream of new hires. Offering internships to college juniors and seniors provides the employer some competent hands, but it also exposes the students to the real working world. I would challenge employers to push for sophomores to join the program and start interning at that point.
Here at PlastiCert, we engage engineering students as early as the summer before sophomore year. We bring them in during the summer as well as during the school year working around their class schedule. We can’t come close to hiring them all, but over the last 10 years, 100% of our interns have an engineering position offer secured before graduation.
Engineers graduate with degrees in electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering, but the positions they end up in are never that. Their job titles are design, development, manufacturing, reliability, quality etc. engineers. Internships allow them to see how their discipline gets applied to specific work functions. The same can apply to business majors. No one graduates with a degree in business and becomes a “business person”. They are salespeople, purchasing, human resources, logistics, and etc. people. Internships can facilitate them seeing if the possible careers out there, align with where their interests and skills lie. Employers gain access to potential hires, give them the experience they keep saying they desire of potential hires, and get a capable person to help with the current workload.
Internships can be a two-way street, a means for businesses to get some work done, assess possible new hires, and give back to their local institutions of higher education. They are also an opportunity for students to see what areas and aspects of business await them after graduation and how do they fit with their own desires and expectations.
Talk to your local institutions of higher education. See about engaging in their intern program. You’ll be glad you did!