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What are good sources for a pipeline of interns?

We've had decent luck with marketing/operations interns but it's always a struggle to source the next one - especially during the year (e.g. non summer internships). Have other companies had good luck running a more consistent pipeline of intern candidates and if so, from which sources. We already post at internships.com (probably the best) and cragislist. So looking for more creative solutions.

9 Replies

Diego Fiorentin
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Diego Fiorentin Advisor
VP Business Development at Squadability
Try www.aiesec.org and approach the nearest local committee

Its a very interesting approach.

You can get international interns to work on your company for a period from 6 weeks to 1.5 years.



Edwin Hoogerbeets
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Edwin Hoogerbeets Entrepreneur
Founder at Translation Circle
I have to put a plug in for my own alma mater, U of Waterloo in Canada. They have a work/study co-op program where you can hire students to work 4 months terms starting in Jan, May, or Sept... ie. all year long. There are a few other universities with co-op programs as well, so try searching for them as well.
Steve Everhard
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Steve Everhard Advisor
All Things Startup
Depending what kind of skills and experience you want from your interns you might consider teaming up with a local business school or graduate school. Post graduate students may have more blocks of time than under-graduates.
Jan Van Bruaene
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Jan Van Bruaene Advisor
Vice President of Engineering at RTI (Real-Time Innovations)
As Steve Everhard suggests, we partner with a university and sponsor various research activities and tech challenges. This is a long term play for more interns.
Peter Johnston
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Peter Johnston Advisor
Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.
In the nineteenth century, you scaled a business by adding people. Then you had to add people to manage the people, to hire the people, to train the people. Managers became the core skill for a company and took all the top jobs.

That is no longer the case. Companies scale by adding technology.

But it is hard to unlearn the nineteenth century methodologies. Especially if your skill is as a people manager.

Rethink your company.

Marketing is about one thing - being hot. If people are talking about what you do and keen to engage with it, they come to you and all your marketing channel has to do is make it easy for them to find you.

But many companies are stuck in an old-fashioned sales mindset. For them, marketing is about knocking on doors and persuading people to show an interest in you and buy what you offer. A much more time consuming task.

I'll bet yours is one of those nineteenth century companies. Since you are a manager you see people as the answer, much as a hammer seeks a nail.

Rethink how you align your company with your market. Marketing is not a department - it is about identifying what a group of people desire and making it for them rather than making a product then trying to find customers (the 19th century industrial age method). Then you'll find that everyone in the company is a marketer and you have no need for unskilled, menial sales tasks to fill anyone's day.
Benjamin Olding
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Benjamin Olding Advisor
Co-founder, Board Member at Jana
We like interns a lot - bright students can actually do a lot more than people expect, they help create a culture of enthusiasm, and they represent our best pipeline for new-grad hiring. We go to local college job fairs in the Fall and collect resumes. This consistently works - we get 100s of resumes from juniors and sophomores, winnow it down to phone screen around 10-20. We in-person interview 3-7 and hire at least one, often several.

It takes a little more effort than just posting to job boards (and is more expensive - the colleges charge money for the fairs, plus you have to have someone stand there at the table and accept resumes). However, it's extremely reliable: this portion of our company has been on autopilot for a long time now. If you have the cash to spend, I think it's good value relative to general recruiting expenses. You can't build your whole company this way obviously, but I think there's a place for it. It's at least easy.

Regarding non-Summer interns, we have encountered students at the job fairs looking for something like that. However, it's low numbers, so the odds you find one that's a good fit aren't very reliable.

The one program in the Boston area that works for us during the school year is Northeastern - they are built around the idea of a co-op program. Every student does 2-3 full-time, 1 semester internships (it's a 5 year school; 4 years of class, 2+ semesters of internships). I don't know of another school like this; it's worth considering. Students prefer to stay local (they keep their housing), but they might be intrigued to travel to where you are if you could help figure out housing for them. This definitely represents more expense (your flight out, plus paying them enough to fly to you and deal with temporary housing for 4-6 months), but it is reliable - depends on how important this is for you to get done. Relative to the cost of a full-time hire, it's still pretty inexpensive.

The other surprisingly quality source of interns has been to go to the people on our extended team who are in their 40s and 50s (i.e. executives, advisors and investors) and ask them to tell their friends who have college-age children we're looking for someone. It's low numbers, but it's been nearly 100% hire rate when we do get recommendations that way. It's kind of a weird way to use your extended network (that is usually otherwise devoted to finance issues, at least for us), but they don't seem to mind at all - and it's usually been a very positive experience for everyone involved; keeps a "family feel" to the company and reinforces relationships.
Stephanie Breslin
0
0
Stephanie Breslin Entrepreneur
Leadership Innovation | Personal Growth | Developmental Learning
What about the immersive education or bootcamp programs? For marketing you may want to check out Tradecrafted in San Francisco.
Bruce Carlisle
0
0
Bruce Carlisle Advisor
Leadership, Strategy, BizDev, Marketing, Fundraising
One caution. Interns can be a crapshoot, especially undergrads. Not only that, it takes time to train and supervise them. It takes energy to make sure that they always have productive work to do. So before creating a "pipeline" of interns, make sure that 1) you have very specific tasks in mind and 2) you have the time to supervise them and 3) that their expectations are well managed. Interns have a knack for imagining a glamorous experience when, in reality, they are often asked to do repetitive drudge work. Finally, if you are in California, pay them. The CA EDD loves to go after startups with unsalaried "interns"
Anand Cavale
0
0
Anand Cavale Advisor
Managing Director & Business Head at Citibank Malaysia
Provide a Job Summary to college advisers to be posted as current opp
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