College and university campuses are meccas for intern recruitment.
If you can't find talented young minds eager to work for next to nothing on a college campus, you probably won't be able to find them anywhere.
But if you think there are vast hordes of college kids lining up for a chance to man your company's copy machine, guess again. Universities are a great place for recruiting interns – but you'll have to compete for the best candidates and none of them will take the bait unless you offer a meaningful work experience.
Getting in the game is half the battle in developing relationships with universities to hire interns. It's not complicated, it just takes the same hard work and intentionality you apply to recruiting other employment prospects. Here's how to get started:
- Meet with career services. Career services departments will help you understand the process for recruiting interns on campus. Universities often have specific policies about how interns are recruited and managed. The upside is that students rely on career services to identify internship opportunities.
- Develop relationships with key faculty. Business faculty can be useful in helping you identify the best prospects for internships. They can also be influential in pointing students to companies that offer the kinds of opportunities they are looking for. By developing ongoing relationships with faculty, you can equip them with the information they need to advance your recruitment efforts.
- Use testimonials. Before your current intern finishes his time with your company asked him to write a testimonial about his experience, which can then be leveraged to recruit next year's crop of interns. If you're lucky, he might even be able to give you the names and contact information for talented intern prospects.
- Start early. Good interns find placements early in the recruiting season. Coordinate with career services to make sure you begin your intern recruiting activities early enough to secure top tier of candidates.
- Attend university job fairs. Campus-based job fairs facilitate casual interactions between business leaders and students. Bring giveaways to generate traffic, but be prepared to recruit based on the quality of the opportunities you're prepared to offer your student interns.