EACE Blog contribution by Louis V. Gaglini, Associate Director for Employer Relations & Recruiting at the Boston College Career Center
As we continue to experience strengthening of the economy and the related positive trends in entry-level hiring, we also have seen more organizations participating in internship programs and other experiential learning opportunities this summer. In fact, interns have become the new entry-level for many organizations; and according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 60% of interns entering their senior year in college this fall will receive a full-time offer from their internship employer.
So, let’s share the responsibility with our employer partners to make the best of those Summer 2014 internship relationships. I suggest offering your internship employers a few tips for success…
1. Give your intern some meaningful work. You will be pleased at what an excited and energetic student with knowledge, skills, enthusiasm, and ambition can accomplish. By the way, you can learn from them as much as they will learn from you. This summer – get your own coffee and make your own copies – the exercise will do you good!
2. Pay your intern. Meaningful work deserves the proper consideration in return, and gone are the days where interns can be viewed as “free labor”. If your organization is in the private sector, it may be difficult to justify not paying your intern. Keep in mind Fact Sheet #71 from the U.S. Department of Labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act which offers guidelines for compliance when employing unpaid interns. And remember the “Black Swan – Fox Searchlight” case from a couple of years ago. A lot can be learned from the mistakes of others before you. By the way, offering academic credit does not always enable you to forego paying your interns in the private sector.
3. Enable and encourage your intern to grow. Interns are seeking experience, exposure, visibility, and connections. Simply set them up for success with a few introductions, invitations to lunch, participation in meetings, and let them take it from there. Eventually, someone will thank you for introducing them to your company’s next great hire – and there is no heavy lifting on your part!
4. Have realistic but ambitious expectations of your interns. College students are accustomed to deadlines and final exams taking place only 10 or 11 weeks after starting a course. When there is something at stake, you will be amazed at what an intern can accomplish. Perhaps you could offer them a chance to shine through a final project or presentation to your management team.
5. Finally, make sure your intern has an overall great experience from start to finish. What better branding and advertising can you hope for than for a bright student who just had a terrific summer experience at your company returning to campus to share stories with classmates and faculty? You now have an established on-campus brand ambassador. Next year, watch applications triple! Conversely, can you imagine the impact if a student who had a negative experience takes that back to campus and shares it with a few hundred people? We have all seen it happen, and your days on that campus may be numbered…
Just a few easy points to share with your valued employer partners. Ensure that those interns have a great summer with a lot of meaningful work, and the rewards will not be far behind!
Louis Gaglini is the Associate Director of Employer Relations at the Boston College Career Center. Lou has over 20 years of leadership experience in talent acquisition, placement, staffing and employment with proven expertise in strategy, design, and delivery of programs of all sizes. He is court qualified Vocational Expert in Employability & Hireability.
Lou is a former Assistant Professor of Cooperative Education within Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration. His corporate experience includes five years with the international professional services firm of Deloitte & Touche LLP, initially as Director of Recruiting in the Boston office and subsequently as National Manager of Campus Recruiting in its Worldwide Headquarters. He also served as a Senior Consultant and HR Manager with Polaroid, redesigning and launching new recruiting programs and other talent acquisition initiatives. Lou received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University and a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University.