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3 Tips for Recruiting Interns for Future Full-Time Roles

3 Tips for Recruiting Interns for Future Full-Time Roles

We’re in the midst of a talent shortage. In fact, Gartner Inc.’s recent Emerging Risks Survey revealed senior executives worldwide believe talent shortage is the top risk their organizations face. If you’re struggling to drum up candidates, recruiting interns could be the golden ticket to transforming your entry-level talent pipeline. 

You know how hard it is for applicants to check all the qualification boxes in spite of the talent drought. Entry-level positions no longer require entry-level qualifications. Skill development, previous work or internship experience, and even volunteering are critical components to good entry-level hires. Formulating a strategy for engaging and recruiting young talent in the current job market/ hiring climate ensures your talent pool doesn’t run dry. 

Well-crafted internship programs are gold mines for generating future full-time employees. With the right environment and training, interns are able to quickly develop into the professionals your company desperately needs. And recruiting interns effectively from the start ensures young talent easily transitions into future tenure at your company. 

Here’s how to recruit top interns and retain this talent for future roles:

Seek out interns with traits you CAN’T train for

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), interns who transition into full-time employees are far more likely to stick with a company than those hired traditionally. But this requires interns to have the right personality and fit for the company culture.

Keep in mind: skills can be taught — character cannot. This is why it’s critical to seek out interns with strong personality traits indicating future success within your organization. Don’t overlook intern candidates with superior soft skills and personality traits for the allure of hard skills. 

Tip: Focus on seeking out candidates with personality traits reflective of the company’s mission and values such as enthusiasm, drive, and even a great sense of humor. 


Identify interns with potential in areas you CAN train for

Get ahead of skill development. As a recruiter, you must learn to recognize a candidate’s capabilities for a role. Young talent often lacks some skills and role-specific experience. Rather than writing them off until they are better equipped for a future role, report the areas where the intern will require training and development. 

For instance, an intern will not likely be well-versed in all the programs and tools utilized at your company. Training and certifications allow interns to advance in their roles and make them better prospects for future full-time employment. Immersing interns into your robust development program sets them up for success and instills a sense of dedication to your organization by nurturing their growth. 

Tip: Introduce interns and entry-level hires to training outside of your traditional workplace programs so they can explore their interests and build on strengths they can bring back into their roles.

Create a clear transition plan

In 2018, NACE reported the conversion rate for interns to full-time employees at more than 45 percent. When recruiting interns with the future in mind, establish a clear plan before the internship begins. Go as far as to set a deadline for a decision to transition an individual from an internship to a full-time role. This will pad your talent pipeline and establish clear expectations for both interns and the HR team.

Tip: A transition plan benefits the internship program because it lays down a sufficient trial period and establishes a timeline for regular check-ins. This ensures no time is wasted in identifying your top entry-level hires when new roles open.

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Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.