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There was a time when interns were considered nothing more than free or cheap labor. Times have changed, and organizations now understand the importance of not only their employees but also that of their temporary hires.
Today, interns are considered more than just people who take up a seat in the office for a few weeks. Large corporations understand that interns can bring a lot to the table. According to the 2012 Internship and Co-op Survey by Nace Research, nearly 62% of interns in the US are eventually offered full-time jobs by their organizations.
While this seems like a favorable figure for the interns, it is also equally profitable for the organizations. How do you ask? It’s because interns don’t come on board with the expectation of meeting KRAs. They’re thus more open to thinking out-of-the-box, bringing creative ideas, and a fresh perspective to the same tasks that your employees would approach in a ‘safe’ way. Also because interns are also just at the start of their careers, they’re motivated, willing to learn, and passionate about what they do. It would also not be wrong to assume that most interns are also heavily invested in technology and ahead in adapting to the technological curve than some of the older employees in your organization. Various studies have suggested that intern turned employees tend to stay longer.
There are enough examples to prove that interns make for the perfect choice for a permanent resource. However, all these benefits can only be realized by recruiting an intern with potential. Unfortunately, a lot of employers seem to miss this point. A typical employer, while expending a lot of time and energy on hiring employees, doesn’t seem to put in the same effort in hiring interns. In larger organizations, it’s not uncommon for the intern-hiring process to be handled solely by an HR manager. However, the difference between a quality intern with the potential to become a productive and permanent member of your team, and one who will consume more resources than what he/she brings to your organization is a skill assessment conducted at the time of hiring.
Even while interns stay with your organization for a short duration, their training and mentoring involve the investment of effort, time, as well as high-level resources. Your investment is not likely to return enough benefits unless you have hired the right kind of people in the first place.
Not only should an intern be qualified enough to work in your industry, but they must also possess other skills and traits that can make them fit comfortably in your organization and ensure their growth as a part of your team.
Pre-employment assessment tools have come to be used widely in the recruitment process for permanent hires. However, the use of the assessments for hiring interns is still understated. Yet, given that usually, interns have none/ limited prior work experience, a hiring manager needs pre-defined benchmarks to understand which ones fit the organizations’ need the best, and the only objective way to ascertain skills, aptitude, and attitude is through assessments.
Say for example, for a new product research profile, you are looking for an intern who is sharp in academics and analytics, is hard-working, and can take instructions easily. While your first instinct may be to pick the topper from the university you contacted, it is the selection of the right personality and aptitude that will determine if the candidate you chose was the right fit.
Whether you plan to hire the intern permanently or not, a good intern can always benefit your organization in terms of marketing if not in terms of revenue. Remember that no matter how long an intern stays in your company, the name of your organization will remain on their resume forever. The quality of their work will largely be assumed as the quality of experience they have gained under the supervisors you assigned them to. This means, by hiring an intern with the potential to learn fast and grow, you can get more credit by investing minimal efforts.
So the next time you’re bringing on board the next batch of interns, get rid of the coffee-and-copy stigma attached to them, instead think of it as an early identification process for long-term talent for your business.
You may also like to read: All You Need to Know About Online Assessments
Originally published April 2 2018, Updated December 17 2020
Talent assessment is the practice of assessing talent before making critical organizational decisions, such as hiring, development, promotions, etc. Talent assessments evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, personality, behavior, and work style to future-proof an organization’s business interests.