Do Internships Demand the Same Respect as Full-Time Roles in the Recruitment Process?

The ongoing discussion regarding the level of respect accorded to internships in comparison to full-time roles during the recruitment process is a pertinent and evolving matter. In the face of a talent shortage, as acknowledged by 63% of recruiters, internships are taking on a more significant role in building a robust talent pipeline. 

While internships and full-time positions maintain distinct characteristics, there is a growing realization that internships offer value and advantages that contribute to the overall advancement of individuals and organizations.

Here, we will delve deeper into this subject, guided by the insights of Jillian Low, Virtual Internships’ former Chief Academic Officer and current Chief Strategy Officer, to explore the nature of internships and their influence in shaping the future workforce.


The Learning Opportunity

An internship extends beyond short-term roles; it's a powerful learning opportunity for students to bridge the gap between academia and the real world. Beyond the standard job responsibilities, interns seek guidance, mentorship, and opportunities to apply their theoretical knowledge in practical contexts and navigate the nuances of their chosen industries. 

This highlights the critical role mentors play in integrating interns into the company culture and encouraging exploration of various tasks. Moreover, this project-based learning serves as a platform to expand their professional networks and discover opportunities for growth.


A Two-Way Street for Companies

While building a talent pipeline is undoubtedly a significant motivator for companies to hire interns, it's crucial to recognize that interns also bring valuable perspectives and fresh ideas to the table. This holds true even for remote interns who contribute diverse global insights. Alongside this, companies also benefit from interns' contributions towards completing tasks and fostering a sense of Corporate Social Responsibility.  Word of mouth can have a notable impact, especially for SMEs, as they gain a reputation from effective training and development programs for emerging talents. It's a symbiotic relationship where both sides stand to gain.


The Intern's Position

Interns don't always hold all the cards in the recruitment process. The competition is fierce, and the number of available internships can fall short of the demand. Interns with strong hiring signals, such as prestigious university affiliations, robust networks, and past work experiences, tend to be in a more advantageous position. However, these indicators might not be equally accessible to all aspiring interns, putting some at a disadvantage.

Even in industries with high growth rates, such as software development, the preference often leans toward hiring senior candidates. This preference poses a challenge for junior candidates looking to gain entry-level experience. To address this, more internship opportunities are needed, coupled with a willingness from companies to provide mentorship and training to candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences.


Redefining Entry-Level Internships

For internships to demand the same respect as full-time roles, a shift in mindset is needed. Internships should be genuinely entry-level, allowing candidates without prior work experience to enter the job market. This doesn't imply lowering standards; instead, it means creating an environment where learning and growth are prioritized over prior experience. In fact, a significant percentage of hiring professionals acknowledge that they may unintentionally overlook highly skilled candidates due to traditional credentials such as job titles or degrees. Companies that invest in training and mentorship for entry-level interns contribute to a more inclusive and dynamic workforce.


Enriching Organizational Culture through Virtual Internships

Elevating the standing of internships in the recruitment process requires a concerted effort. Being present on Virtual Internships platform extends beyond immediate hiring needs; it's about strategic preparedness, fostering relationships, and championing innovation. As the world of work continues to evolve, your company's commitment to forward-looking strategies will lay the foundation for a dynamic and successful future.

By joining the Host Company community on Virtual Internships, you'll gain access to a diverse pool of interns from universities across the world and invaluable resources. Embrace this opportunity to shape emerging talents, infuse your organizational culture with innovative perspectives, and establish a resilient workforce equipped to thrive in the evolving business landscape.

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