Where to find the best interns for your small business
A successful small business depends on several things, including having the right employees. One of the most crucial aspects of operating and growing a small business is finding interns. Having an extra pair of hands on deck can help you take on projects you don't have the time or expertise for and make sure your business runs smoothly. There are several resources you can tap into to find and hire talented and qualified interns for your business. You might be wondering where to start. Here are some tips on where and how to find interns for your company:
Social media posting
Social media can be a strong tool for finding and attracting the best interns for your small business. Start by taking some time to define the ideal candidate for the internship. Think about the skills, qualifications, and traits that are important for success in the role.
When creating job postings and sharing them on your company's social media accounts, be sure to include a clear and concise job description, the qualifications you are looking for, and any application requirements or deadlines. You can also consider using hashtags to increase visibility.
Use social media to showcase your company culture and values. Highlight any unique aspects of your company that make it an attractive place to work, such as flexible work arrangements or a commitment to social responsibility.
Leverage LinkedIn, a powerful platform for recruiting interns, by creating a job posting on LinkedIn and sharing it with your network. Search for potential interns using the platform's search function, and encourage your employees to share job postings on their personal social media accounts. This can help increase the reach of your job postings and attract a wider pool of candidates. You can also search for potential interns using LinkedIn's search function and reach out to them directly.
Make sure to respond promptly to any inquiries or applications you receive on social media, and to engage with potential candidates by answering their questions and providing more information about the internship. Finally, keep track of your social media postings and evaluate their effectiveness, by monitoring how many applications you receive and which platforms are most effective in attracting quality candidates.
Job posting websites
Leveraging job posting websites can be an effective way to attract the best interns who can help your business grow and thrive.
Start by identifying the best job posting websites for your small business. There are several job posting websites with good reputations to choose from, including Indeed, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter. Each platform has its own unique features, so you'll want to identify which one works best for your needs. To look for the best candidates on these sites, use keywords like "intern" or "entry-level." You can search by location or industry sector if you have more specific needs in mind (for example, if only local people will work for your business).
As the best internships tend to go to applicants who have gone through a rigorous selection process and come recommended by someone in your industry if you want an intern who's going to be a good fit for your company culture and work style, it helps if they've already been pre-screened by other businesses in the industry--and that means posting on a site where employers are looking specifically for interns rather than experienced employees.
When drafting your job posting, make sure that it’s well-written and compelling, and that it highlights the skills and qualifications you're looking for in an intern. Make sure to include a clear job title, a detailed job description, and a list of required qualifications.
As it's crucial to cast a wide net when you're looking for interns, consider posting on multiple job posting websites to increase visibility and attract a larger pool of candidates. Once you start receiving resumes and applications, take the time to review each one carefully. Look for candidates who have relevant experience, a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude.
College career centers
College career centers can be valuable partners for small businesses looking to find the best interns. By leveraging their resources and expertise, businesses can access a pool of qualified candidates and find the right fit for their organization. The staff at these centers are experts in helping learners find internships, so they can be an invaluable resource when it comes time to hire interns for your small business.
The first thing that many businesses do when looking to hire an intern is post their job opening on the school's career site or bulletin board. This gives learners an opportunity to apply right away without having to search through dozens of online sites themselves (and makes hiring easier). Another benefit of using this method is that you'll have access to pre-screened candidates who have already been approved by their university's administration as well as HR personnel from other businesses within the area where your company operates, meaning that there are fewer risks involved.
Career fairs are also a great way for small businesses to connect with potential interns. Many college career centers host career fairs throughout the year, which provide opportunities for businesses to network with learners and promote their internship opportunities.
College career centers often work with businesses to help them develop and promote their employer brand as well as assist small businesses with the hiring process, providing guidance on best practices for interviewing, selecting, and onboarding interns. This can help ensure that the business finds the right intern for the job and sets them up for success in their role.
The Riipen marketplace is a platform free of charge to employers that connects small businesses with learners and recent graduates who are seeking internship opportunities. The platform can be a time-saving and cost-effective way for small business owners to find interns. With a pool of pre-vetted candidates who have completed projects and have been rated by their instructors, small businesses can access a pool of candidates who have already demonstrated their skills and ability to perform in a professional environment.
Riipen also allows businesses to create customized internship projects that align with their specific needs and goals. By creating a project that is tailored to the business's needs, they can attract candidates who are a good fit for the role and who are interested in the company's industry and mission. The platform also streamlines the recruitment process, making it easier for them to find the right candidates and manage the internship experience.
“When we were researching what platform to use or how to hire an intern and student Talent, we wanted to find something that was more personal, a place where we can engage with the actual students and ask them questions about their future goals, and their interests,” said Lachezar Arabadzhiev, Founder & CEO of SkildLabs, an online learning experience builder located in Toronto, Ontario. “It was great to see that Riipen had a chat functionality where you could exchange messages, and see portfolios and that's what drew us to using Riipen.”
In addition, the Riipen platform offers the opportunity for ongoing collaboration between businesses and learners which can lead to long-term relationships and potential for future employment opportunities.
Referrals from past interns
Referrals from past interns can be a powerful way to find the best interns for your small business. As it’s important to give back to those who have helped you in the past, this is one way of doing just that. If a former intern is pleased with your company and their experience there, they will be more than happy to recommend it to others looking for an internship opportunity.
Interns who were referred by past interns are often more likely to stay with the company long-term since they already have a connection to the company through their referral, and this can increase their motivation and commitment to the role.
Referrals from former interns can also be a cost-effective way to find new interns, as there is no need to spend money on advertising or recruitment efforts, thereby saving time and resources on the referral process.
As past interns are more likely to refer candidates who are a good fit for the company and who share its values and mission this can lead to better candidate fit and improved performance in the internship. Finally, small business owners can also consider creating a referral program that offers incentives for current and past interns who refer new candidates.
Your own network
Your professional network is another great place to start. By leveraging your professional network, you can connect with other professionals who have a deep understanding of your industry and may be able to refer qualified internship candidates. This can help you find interns who are a good fit for your organization and who can contribute to your business's growth and success.
If you know someone who has an intern, ask them if they'd be willing to put in a good word for you. Or, if you're part of any organizations or clubs where other small business owners are active members (for example: chambers of commerce), consider asking those people if they know of any potential candidates that might fit what you're looking for.
Reach out to contacts in your industry to see if they know of any qualified candidates who are seeking internship opportunities. This can include former colleagues, business partners, industry associations, or professional organizations.
Make sure to attend industry events, conferences, and networking events to meet new people and expand your professional network as these events can be a great way to connect with other professionals in your field who may be able to refer qualified internship candidates.
If you are a graduate of a college or university, consider reaching out to your alma mater's career center or alumni association to see if they have any resources or connections that could help you find qualified interns.
Finding the best interns for your small business requires careful planning, creativity, and a solid strategy. By utilizing social media, job posting websites, college career centers, and platforms like the Riipen marketplace, small business owners can attract a diverse pool of candidates with relevant skills and qualifications. Through careful evaluation of the different resources available, small businesses can find the best interns who can help them grow and thrive. As interns bring fresh perspectives, enthusiasm, and unique skills to the table, they are valuable assets to any small business.
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About the author:
Jennifer Lussier is a bilingual Content Marketing Specialist based in Montreal, QC. With a multidisciplinary background and a desire to accomplish more for the betterment of society, she joined Riipen in 2019 as an Academic Account Manager and has since migrated to the marketing team as it is more closely aligned with her interests and expertise.