Successful Internship and Graduate Recruitment Programs

Imagine if your organisation could tap into a talent pipeline of individuals whose minds are like open books, whose eyes and ears are like vacuums, soaking up information into sponge-like brains where ideas are fermented, distilled, bottled and freshly delivered to your business…

The good news is that this market of up-and-comers is ready, willing, and able to mobilize at the word “go”.  Armed to the teeth with enthusiasm, fresh insight, and an almost fanatical devotion to doing a good job – these are the interns and graduates of New Zealand.

Here at Frog, we’ve experienced first-hand the benefits of engaging with interns and graduates. They have always done an exceptional job managing our front of house, social media platforms, eCommunications, as well as significant pieces of research. We find that this workforce only needs one thing to get them going: a chance.

The pool of legitimate objections to engaging this workforce is shrinking, as it becomes more and more apparent that this group can add tremendous value. Here’s a few ways how…

One thing we found in our own experience, as well as frequently hear about from other organisations, is how quickly interns and grads take up technology.  It is now common for them to strategize, activate, and maintain social media strategies – and we have seen this in action with our own grads and inters. Organisations need not become hulking dinosaurs in the age of social media –interns and grads can manage entry into social media as well as swift-footed response to any potential issues. These communication channels have been a part of their lives for many years now, they know their way around – you can trust them.

Coming straight from research environments, interns and grads are well-suited to tackling business research projects. They are trained to hone in on information, scour databases, and synthesize large amounts of information.  We find that a good way of utilising interns is by outlining a set of business problems for them to solve, or to design and improve systems. Bringing a fresh pair of eyes to a problem can often yield surprising and innovative results.

Taking a more long-term approach, organisations who fail to inject new blood into their workforce will be in a pickle when chunks of their workforce reach retirement age. Interns and grads may not stick around forever, but the chances of boomerang hires are much higher if your industry takes the time to engage in interns and grads in the long term. As one of our interns said “I didn’t really know about recruitment before my internship, but now I’m definitely keen on working in the industry somehow, maybe not as a recruiter, but doing something related”. And we definitely hope to see her again someday! Even if some of the grads and interns you engage are lost to competitors, it still increases the size and quality of the talent pool in the industry as a whole. Everyone is better off in the long term.

And of course, the value that workplaces add to this group is immense, as one intern put it: “It’s just amazing having the backing of an entire organisation. Having people there to ask questions, brainstorm, mentor, advise, and encourage is absolutely invaluable.”

Another benefit provided by organisations is the link from theory to practice. It may not be immediately obvious how adaptive structuration theory is applied in the workplace, but with a little bit of exposure eventually it may be. One of our grads have gone on to study at postgraduate level, and states “I could not possibly have come up with a good thesis topic without corporate experience. Through my work experience I was able to formulate an interesting research topic, which is now followed with some interest by the professors in the business school. It was of tremendous benefit to see abstract ideas play out in real life. ”

Perhaps the greatest gift an organisation can give this workforce is in the form of soft skills: “I think the biggest benefit of my internship was the people skills. Simple things like appropriate email communications is difficult to learn in theory.” These are not only work skills, but also life skills which they will no doubt find useful in many situations.

We hope that over time the benefit and need of engaging interns and grads become apparent to all business in New Zealand. We also hope that all hiring managers seriously consider integrating an intern or grad component into their upcoming workforce strategies.

For more information about intern of graduate recruitment programs, please contact Kathy McCombe, GM – Development and Solutions via email or call 09 356 9755

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