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5 Tips to Make Interns Feel Like Employees

If you’re looking for ways to boost your early in career hiring, bringing in interns is a great bet since those who have a good experience are likely to come on board as full-time employees. In fact, according to a study by Zippia, 70 percent of this talent gets hired by the companies they interned with—and considering 300,000 students participate in internships every year, this is fertile ground for the early talent you want. 

But you have to provide the experience students are looking for to reap recruiting rewards. Generation Z is unlike any other age group in the workforce today, and these workers have very specific expectations of employers—and will not settle for less. To ensure you can convert your interns to full-time employees, you must welcome them in your organization. The following tips can help you make interns feel like employees.

1. Introduce Interns to Staff Members

Sometimes interns are brought into a company and stuck in a small, lonely corner of the office without having any idea who they’ll be working with. To integrate interns into the company, formally introduce them to team members, as well as other key people they may need to contact, such as those in tech support. 

Also, it's important for organizations to change the way regular employees view interns. Sometimes workers don't feel the need to get to know interns because they’ll only be at the company for a short time, but in order for early career talent to feel welcome, this attitude needs to change. Instead, encourage employees to initiate conversations with interns and find out who they are, what they want to do after graduation, and what they hope to get out of the internship. Showing interest in this way can help boost early in career hiring because talent will know they’ll be treated with kindness and respect.  

2. Hire Multiple Interns

Interns who come into an organization alone may feel uncomfortable and isolated. However, when they participate in an internship with other people, they get the opportunity to bond with peers in a way that makes the workplace environment more pleasant and satisfying. If you're able to hire more than one intern, you can enhance students' experience and create a sense of goodwill that will increase the chances they’ll accept a full-time position after graduation. 

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3. Assign Meaningful Tasks

If your goal is to use internships as a pipeline for early in career hiring, then having students only make coffee and photocopies isn't going to get you there. Although administrative tasks may be a necessary part of an internship, companies should also assign work that helps students learn and grow as young professionals. In addition, providing meaningful work helps your organization because you get the opportunity to delegate tasks that are valuable to the company—making it a win for the intern and a win for you.

4. Provide Mentoring

Mentoring can help students become more comfortable at your organization while getting a glimpse of what they can expect in the workplace, and in your industry, from someone who has learned the ropes. Interns may feel uncomfortable asking their direct supervisor certain questions, so offering a mentor is a great way to provide an additional learning experience and source of support that can help them with their work.

In addition, if you have interns from underrepresented communities assigned to a mentor who shares their background, it can be an inspiring experience that shows them not only can they reach their aspirations, but there’s a possible career path for them at your company.

5. Show Appreciation

We all want to feel appreciated at work, and interns are no exception. Being an intern can be a thankless job that includes work no one else wants to do. One way to appreciate interns early on is by giving them their own workspace, so they aren’t shuffled around from desk to desk when people are out of the office. This allows interns to settle into your company and feel like they’re no different from the regular, full-time employees they’re assisting. Also, when interns have a home base in the workplace they can connect to, it helps them see themselves working at your organization full time.

Since interns are playing an integral role in alleviating the workload of employees, it's important to find ways to show them appreciation. From regularly saying thank you to providing gifts to organizing fun events, showing appreciation to interns now increases the chances they’ll accept a job offer later.

Bringing in interns can work wonders for your early in career hiring if your company is able to really connect with students and make them excited about possibly working there full time. These tips can help you make interns feel like employees, and this kind of welcoming environment will make it easier to attract them after graduation. 

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