Our former internal intern, Sacha, is here to share his story and advice for students seeking internship and career experience!
What Interns Want in Internships Today
In Indonesia, a young intern named Bunga was recently interviewed by publication Coconuts Jakarta about her experience interning for a hospitality company in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.
In her interview, she related how she had joined the company expecting to work with senior staff and learn the ins and outs of the industry. However, in practice, she said the company made her work as a receptionist – except without the pay. But it wasn’t the lack of pay she was angry about:
“Because the purpose of the internship was to seek knowledge, I didn’t mind doing it without compensation. But my internship did not do a good job of giving me exposure to real work,” she said.
Internships are a delicate balance. For many companies, they are a chance to get decently skilled labor at a lower price point. In exchange, they pass on the job experience and training interns need to get their first start in the field.
But with growing outcry from interns today about unreasonably low pay and a lack of mentorship, some interns feel companies aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Interns are becoming hesitant about taking positions – and governments are becoming increasingly wary of internship programs that interns don’t like.
Check out our article on where to find interns today here.
But as the above quote implies, pay is not necessarily what interns are after. So what do interns like in their internships anyway? And what can your business do to leave interns feeling more satisfied with their experience?
Here’s what the statistics say:
Overwhelmingly, interns want to work with you
According to a study by global research advisory firm, Universum Global, of 65,679 undergraduates in the U.S. – when asked what they’d most like their internship employer to offer, 51% said an opportunity for full-time employment is most important to them.
Interns want to help your business, and they view an internship with your business as an opportunity to prove themselves as capable of being hired full-time.
What this means for your business
If you do not plan to hire from your internship program make it clear upfront. Interns may feel cheated if they feel they’ve been lured in by the prospect of a job only to have it snatched away.
If you are looking to hire, make sure you find effective ways to measure your interns’ performance. This will help you confidently know whether or not you want to hire them at the end of the internship and let them know why they got the position or not.
Interns want good employer references
If your intern can’t get a job within your business, a good employer reference from you still goes a long way towards helping them get their start.
According to a 2012 survey by Careerbuilder, 80% of employers said they contact listed references when evaluating potential employees – and 69% of employers said they have changed their minds about a candidate after speaking with a reference.
What that means for your business
References can be the main factor between getting a job and not. As an employer, if you like the work your intern has done for your business but aren’t looking to hire, you should at very least give them a glowing reference.
If you cannot say great things about your intern, then be honest with them about it at the end of their internship and explain why. They’ll appreciate it much more than an unexplained, lackluster reference down the line.
Interns want to do real work
In the same Universum survey mentioned earlier, “meaningful work” scored in at the third most popular thing interns want out of internships.
While it can be stressful entrusting new workers with high-impact projects for clients or putting them on teams with current employees, this is the kind of work that gets interns engaged. If your company cannot give out this kind of work to interns, then you can likely expect a lack of drive.
What that means for your business
You can give interns busy work around the office, but you should balance these with bigger projects to keep them motivated. Maybe you have a project that you and your team have wanted to try for a while but never gotten around to. These are great tasks for interns.
Individual interns alone may not have the skillsets or the discipline needed to take on big projects alone. A good way to give interns more complex projects is by hiring teams of interns.
Interns want flexible working conditions
As internships increasingly become a requirement for work, interns are now completing internships on top of other activities like schoolwork or their job. This makes experiences in far-off locations or expensive cities less desirable. It also means your business will likely draw from a significantly smaller talent pool for in-person internships.
That’s why today, a growing number of interns are turning to remote internships. Remote internships let interns around the world get the experience they need at companies that need them – and they can do them anywhere completely around their schedule.
We created Virtual Internships to help companies like yours match with the remote interns you need to expand your business quickly and effectively. We partner with top academic and government institutions globally to provide your business with top-quality interns looking to make their mark on your business.
Interested in learning more?