As we think about this year’s college graduates and look for ways to get them involved in economic development, we should also be investing in next year’s graduates. You can do this by offering an internship program!
At PPR Strategies—Places Reimagined, we’re big believers in the importance of giving students real-world experience through internship opportunities. Additionally, interns can provide great value to organizations, especially smaller 1-person organizations or nonprofits.
We’ve had an internship program for over 20 years with over 65 interns, several of whom went on to work at our company in an official capacity. This summer, we have 3 interns working with the PPR Strategies team. (Next week, you’ll learn a little more about them.)
So, how do you find the right interns for your organization so that they – and you – get the best results? Here are a few tips (based on our experience) for finding the right candidates for internships:
1. Share your internship in the right places. Just like with any kind of marketing, it’s all about getting in front of the right target market. We found that Handshake is a great hiring platform for jobs and internships. Handshake provides access to a diverse database of students, allowing you to tap into a wide talent pool. By utilizing this platform, you can also establish and nurture relationships with universities, which can be beneficial for your internship program. When your past interns have positive experiences, they are more likely to recommend your organization to their peers and alumni, generating increased interest in your internships.
You can also always have a link on your website to your internship opportunities so that people can find it if they’re searching.
2. Have a thorough interview process. Our goal in the interview process is to get to know the human being behind the resume. Applicants have to send us a resume, writing samples, and then interview with us at least once and potentially a second time with other team members.
As part of our thorough interview process, an applicant identifies areas of growth that they want to focus on with PPR Strategies. If we feel we can contribute to their goals, and that they are a good fit for our organization, we move them to the next phase of the hiring process.
3. Tailor the internship around the intern. This goes back to the idea of internships as a way to give back. Each internship is different and we tailor each one to the individual. We try to make sure the intern will have the chance to skill-build in their area of interest, whether that’s in marketing, public relations, or another area we specialize in.
4. Consider offering a competitive stipend. We pay our interns a competitive stipend for their work. This is important to us because there is an opportunity cost associated with giving up time to intern. In many cases, this makes it possible for more people to apply who wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
5. Look for authenticity. When we interview applicants, we look for authentic answers rather than canned responses. Authentic answers build trust and help us identify if we’re really going to be a good fit for them (and if they will be for us). You can check out our recent blog on our favorite interview questions for inspiration.
The more you can make the position a “win” for your applicant, the more fulfilling and valuable the experience will be for you, too.
Reimagining Places With You,
The PPR Strategies Team