Recruiter Guide

5 tips for recruiting interns

Covid, government aid for work-study schemes, and other reasons we're still looking into, have changed the way we recruit interns, and we need to adapt. We've come up with 5 things you shouldn't overlook when recruiting an intern!

Tip #1 - Post your offers at the right times

To get the most applications, it's all a question of timing! Timing is everything. You need to post your offers in September or October at the latest, for a January start date. You can also look in April or May for a September start. The earlier you start looking, the more you'll attract organized and serious profiles. Two qualities you'll want in an internship ;).

Outside these two key periods, you're likely to receive fewer or less interesting applications. 

You can also list the key schools from which students who are acquiring the key skills for your assignments usually graduate, and look at their teaching calendars.

Tip #2 - The right balance between recruitment process and responsiveness 

Recruiting someone for an internship takes several weeks and must be done in several stages. You need to anticipate these so that you don't find yourself overnight posting an offer whose content and objectives you're not really sure about. There's no such thing as a recruitment mistake! 

Our advice: 

  • 3 months before the desired internship start date: Draft your offer and publish it on the various channels. You can even set an alerte in the cv-thèque of jobs_that_makesense to be notified when a student creates a profile in your sector. First come, first served!
  • 2 months before the desired internship start date (and as applications come in): selection of CVs, 30-minute telephone interviews (to check administrative aspects and timeframes, and to make sure there's a basic fit!), practical case studies lasting up to 1h30 (make sure the answers don't come straight from chatgpt. Use it as an ally, not as an enemy), final interview (in the flesh). jobs_that_makesense's ATS can help you sorting applications easily and leave no profile unanswered.
  • At the end of the recruitment process: Once you've taken your preferred candidates through all the stages, don't delay in replying and quickly signing the internship agreement.

Despite these necessary steps, it's a good idea not to keep students waiting too long if they're stressed at the thought of not finding an internship before the deadline set by their school! There are a lot of internship offers on the market for very few candidates, and the successful candidate could quickly slip through your fingers thanks to a recruiter with a more roaded process than yours. If all the lights are green, we advise you not to delay signing the internship agreement.

Tip #3 - Write an offer that students can understand

Times have changed. Students are now spoilt for choice when it comes to internships (and we're delighted!). It's up to you to make them want to do it, and to come up with an internship that will be a real source of learning for them, and will make them want to do it! No more apology for babyfoots and 50% reimbursement of the Navigo card (even though it's legally obligatory!).

On content

Say more in your ad: what will the intern learn? What will their objectives be? What do you hope to achieve with the project the student will be joining? What positive impact will it have on society? Who are the people who will inspire and support him/her (a little linkedin link is all it takes!)?

You can also take inspiration from our 13 advices to write your job offer

92% of students are looking for more meaning in their careers. And that's a good sign for you! Right from the title of your ad, highlight your impact and how the person joining your team for the next 6 months will help you achieve these impact objectives. You're the bearers of meaning - show it!

On form

On jobs_that_makesense, you can layout your offer with headings, subheadings, emojis and images. It's the perfect time to show that you're modern and that you take care of the offers you post, and therefore of your trainees later on. 

Last but not least, think back to your student days (even if they're a bit long ago at times)! A student may not know what a "customer success manager", "operations manager" or "audiovisual assistant impact manager" is. Try to include in your title the sectors and keywords that people still studying will understand. You'll have plenty of time to explain what you really want once the student clicks on your ad.

Tip #4 - Your current interns are your best ambassadors! 

Get the students around you to read over your offer, so they can tell you whether it's attractive and, above all, understandable. You could even ask them to share it with their school networks, social networks etc., or at the very least ask them where they are looking for their internship, where their student communities are, so as to target your best acquisition channels. 

Some recruiters even practice cooptation. Take it or leave it, but it can save you time. One thing's for sure: a student who's had a great internship and learned a lot from you won't hesitate to spread the word. We say that, we say nothing...

Tip #5 - The little extras that make all the difference

First of all, it's never a bad idea to regularly review the bonuses you offer your interns. Today, living in Paris, for example, with the minimum amount of an internship bonus (€4.05 per hour) is very complicated. 

You can also highlight other benefits of your internship. 

Will the person have interesting responsibilities with a strong learning curve? Highlight the training courses he or she will be able to access. 

Will they be able to work in a more flexible environment, with a few days of telecommuting? Introduce your corporate culture, for example, and your team-building activities. 

Beware of bullshit, however. Write about what you'll actually be offering, with real added value for the student. 

Some recruiters even include links to junior people the student can contact at his or her convenience, to gather as much transparent information as possible.

Finally, we can't stress this enough: don't look for the 5-legged sheep - they don't exist, and even less so for an internship! Be inclusive when describing the person you're looking for. Internships are often more about motivation than anything else.

Want to share best practices in recruitment? Join the Impact Recruiters community!

This article is a summary of all the tips we've been able to share with each other in the Impact Recruiters community. We share new ways of doing things (inclusivity, governance etc), the best candidates, cross communications campaigns like etc.

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We look forward to talking with you about these topics that make our lives so much easier!