This blog may be a not-so-subtle commentary for my teams as it is for the external world. However, as we head into spring and students across Canada are nailing down their summer roles, I wonder how many have secured great internships to help launch their careers. Not only students but anyone who is looking to accelerate their career.
Suppose you were fortunate enough to have a great summer internship when you were younger, or your organization has a great internship program they deploy. In that case, I don’t have to convince you how hard the past two years have been on people looking to secure relevant work experience. The summer of 2020 was the year without internships. Just twenty-four months ago, many companies abandoned their plans to bring on talent for the summer. A year ago, the 2021 internship return was a broken-down golf cart of its former self.
It means that for us in the privileged position of bringing interns on board for 2022, we need to do the best of our financial abilities and the best of our capability to create a fantastic internship experience. Universally we can all agree that purely remote internships, as many were in 2021, suck at best and, at worst, are outright discouraging. So a few thought starters for the talent and hiring partners to think about this summer.
# 1 – It is not too late. If your company hasn’t finalized their plans for the summer, a plethora of young talent is still available. I know because they are flooding our inboxes daily. One of my competitors had five-hundred applicants for their internship program. I know they didn’t hire them all.
# 2 – Prioritize safe engagement. My actual bias would be to implore you to create 100% in-person internships, but I recognize that we need to privatize safety. That said, ensure your interns have human connections. Notice I didn’t say get them into the office. The office is just one part of it. By planning walking meetings, outdoor contacts, phone calls (yes, the phone) and some onsite days, you can create an excellent experience for your interns. If you are a talent securing an internship this summer, demand it. Maybe make a bubble of fellow interns who work together?
# 3 – Avoid the parent trap. Here is where I will get in trouble, but I am going here. Few things are less appealing to me about an applicant than when your parent asks on your behalf. I am amazed this happens with close friends and people who have done nothing for me in my entire career. I have zero interest in hiring someone who can’t write their application letters. If your parents offer to lend you a hand potential intern, let them know they should wait to applaud you for landing the internship on your own.
The next few months will be very telling as we think about how all of our businesses re-engage. The employee experience is one of the most confounding elements of future business planning, and I am sure you are constantly searching for answers. While on this quest, don’t forget interns and their impact on our ventures for the future.