Internships Welcome: How Stamats Is Building Relationships to Creatively Recruit Interns

Bill Stamats

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In my post from August, we explored ways to attract and retain top talent in today’s challenging hiring market. This month, I’d like to dig a little deeper into one point I touched on — internships.

In tight labor markets, internships are an especially important (yet often overlooked) talent pipeline. But how can organizations develop effective internship programs, connect with the best schools, and capture the interest of top-performing students?

To answer those questions, I’d like to share a few recruitment strategies we’ve put into practice at Stamats. Collectively, our model is helping source talent for internships in:

  • Copywriting and content development
  • Social media
  • User experience design
  • Search engine optimization

Though you may not follow our example, it could serve as a good starting point for crafting a more effective and reciprocal internship program where you work.

Here’s how Stamats is using the power of relationships to creatively recruit interns across the country:

Tapping into Technology

A few months ago, Stamats joined Handshake, a site that connects college students and recent graduates with employers. By eliminating the barrier between job-seekers, schools, and businesses, Handshake helps employers extend their geographic reach and recruit remote interns with specific skill sets.

Our team has used Handshake to connect with Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Portland State University — one of a few schools in the U.S. to offer a degree in search engine marketing. We outline the type of candidates we’re looking for and the schools act as an on-site search partner. It’s a win-win-win: Students secure paid employment, the college bolsters its internship placement rate, and finally, employers find the talent they need to grow. 

Linking Up on LinkedIn

Additionally, Stamats is taking advantage of a LinkedIn offer that allows members to post one job opening free of charge. We’ve used LI’s freebie to connect with internship candidates and others interested in part-time work. Response has been immediate and encouraging. When one position is filled, the post can be edited to reflect a new opportunity.

Putting Networks to Work

Everyone develops dozens of formal and informal business relationships over the course of their careers. At Stamats, we’re taking a second look at those connections and exploring ways to activate them to increase our talent pool. Specifically, we’re reaching out to:

  • Clients: When it comes to innovative college programs (and the talented students within them), our higher education clients are subject matter experts. Social media, SEO/SEM, and communication internships can be shaped around the skills high-performing students bring to the table.
  • Partners: Many of our business and community partners have successful internship programs of their own. Subsequently, recommendations and referrals from these sources streamline our search for talent.
  • Competitors: Competition doesn’t preclude collaboration. Organizations that aren’t able to find a position for a well-qualified intern often share their resumes with others in the same field.
  • Freelance professionals: Stamats has established long-term relationships with skilled freelancers across the country. Their broad range of contacts helps us source interns from a variety of schools and backgrounds.

Offering Fair Compensation

The days of exchanging experience for free labor are waning. At Stamats, we believe compensating students for their time and talent is crucial to building a successful working relationship.

Paid internships not only improve the quality of the candidate pool, they democratize opportunity. Think of it this way: Unpaid internships limit your candidate pool to only those individuals who can forgo a paycheck for a semester or two. That approach can limit socio-economic diversity and diversity of thought.

For those launching a new internship program or revitalizing an existing one, I’d like to close by sharing two important tips from Amber White, Stamats Director of Human Resources.

  • Firstly, move quickly on well-qualified internship candidates. Today’s competitive hiring market means prospects are receiving multiple offers.
  • Secondly, fully integrate interns into your company culture. Inclusion, participation, and responsibility help interns refine their skills and build a portfolio of professional successes.

Overall, new challenges demand new thinking. Stamats’ consulting and strategic planning services can help your organization thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. Call or email to learn more.

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