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Crafting an Effective Internship Recruitment Strategy

Reading Time: 5 minutes

You’ve always known your internship recruitment strategy can impact long-term hiring goals. Now you’re really glad you invested in internship recruitment marketing for this initiative hiring season: according to NACE’s 2016 annual report, the intern-to-full-time-hire conversion rate is at a 13-year high of 61.9%. That’s a lot of great careers you’re helping to start and culture matches you’ve made, which benefits everybody. Go, you!

An effective internship recruitment strategy can reduce cost per hire, bolster culture and brand advocacy and increase referrals. If you’re not converting close to two-thirds of your interns into full-time hires, you may want to take another look at what you’re sharing with candidates. 

Who’s done this well? In 2016, Dell made it a priority to hire top intern talent. They knew future interns wanted to hear the real deal from students currently learning and growing at Dell. Here’s some guidance from a leading organization on marketing your internship experience using a story-based approach:

It’s about the “Why”

Work has become about so much more than the job. Everyone, regardless of age or generation, cares about how the work they do every day and their company’s overall mission aligns with their personal sense of purpose. Those who find it, find fit. Their stories are the “proof” that candidates can align their personal sense of purpose with your company.

Dell wanted to highlight the innovative and important work interns do at the company. For internship recruitment, they found Mita Coker, who told them about her work on the Closed Loop Project. Her team worked to reuse the plastics from computers returned to Dell in the making of new computers. Hence the concept of the closed loop — those plastics don’t go to waste. Then Dell featured her story in a video and accompanying blog post all about innovation, along with more examples where interns contributed to purposeful projects in sustainability, virtual reality in education, and so much more.

Job details matter, too.

Intern candidates need to understand how they can realize their purpose by working with you. Then they need to know exactly what it means on a daily basis. Every day, what are they doing specifically to carry out your mutual mission and purpose?

Dell sought stories of empowerment to show exactly what interns do at work. Dell intern Derek Nalodka describes his work reviewing the IT budgets and how he figured out ways to save the company money, time, and headache. This brings to life the job description and allows intern candidates to picture themselves doing the work, too, next summer. 

What’s next?

The college student who knows what they want to do with the rest of their life is, well, lucky and not typical. Showing them your internship experience can catapult them to a world of options and paths within your company.

Don’t wait until they are inside and hired to show them what’s possible. Share stories of those who have gone from their internship to an interesting career at your company. Include how your company supported them through programs like tuition reimbursement or mentorship in the internship recruitment process.

Dell markets their Open Door Policy as a way to show how their culture supports professional growth. Senior team members actively reach out to interns. Both personally to get to know them, and to connect them further within their network depending on their career interests.

Like all candidates, interns are looking for the proof you are who you say you are. By sharing stories from past intern experiences, specifically related to purpose, on-the-job details, and what the future looks, you’re on your way to turning your intern class into full-time top talent.