Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


In the context of unabated talent shortages in the foreseeable future, organizations will be well served by focusing on optimizing the benefits brought in by the interns they receive via recruiting efforts.

The urge does not stem from the employerss capacity to make immediate productive use of the intern during his/her tenure (e.g. to get the individual to produce revenue, reduce cost). Instead, we see internships as a key variable to the development of the employee value proposition, which is the pillar of an organization's employment branding efforts.

Naturally, there are a few preconditions for interns to become an additional source of branding intelligence and execution. These vary in focus but are not necessarily complex or involved:

Internship attraction: Organizations should be keen to update or enrich their careers websites with information regarding work experience with them. The message herein will be similar in breadth as that included for potential employees (program details, types available, benefits of joining, pre-requisites, online applications, email or RSS alerts to stay in touch).

Intern Induction: No need to go overboard with an all day program or heavy investments. Induction can consist of a session with basics details ranging from the general logistics and administrivia, through to key contacts, settings of expectations on each side, and the opening up of the communication/feedback channels (more below)

On-site responsibilities: If the highlight of the day for an intern is to stuff envelopes, wander the intranet or ‘see what's needed that morning', stop praying because miracles will not happen. The existence of an intern role description, however general, will have a positive impact in creating more focused effort and purpose in an individual who - by definition - needs a compass. This, as stated earlier, is not aimed at deriving short term gains but enhancing the intern's experience throughout the tenure

Communication and feedback: Whether an intern is having the time of his life or utterly bored and unhappy, organizations must want to know about the individual's impression of the experience as it unveils. This opens the opportunity for immediate adjustment of responsibilities and/or expectations; and the subsequent enhancement of the employment branding message to attract interns in the future.

Exit interviews: Gathering overall impressions from the intern at the end of the period should be a key activity of risk management In all likelihood, this is the core message to conveyed by the individual about the experience with the organization to his/her network

In the end, interns will be outsiders again; their unencumbered impressions may translate into compelling references for your organization, for good or bad.


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