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From Inside INdiana Business

It’s easy to list specific reasons why an organization should start an internship program: increased productivity, enhanced creativity, effective recruitment – to name a few. But it’s the coveted notion of saving time and money while getting quality results that’s music to the ears of any employer.

In fact, these days when hiring for a full-time position, some organizations may not have the time or financial resources to recruit a seasoned individual. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) 2010 Internship and Co-op Survey (based on 235 employer responses), 83% of employers said that they use internship programs as a tool for recruiting entry-level talent, an increase of approximately 5% from 2009.

NACE’s survey also indicated that 44.6% of respondents’ full-time entry level hires from the class of ’08-’09 were from their internship programs, an increase of approximately 10% from the prior year.

With the rising cost of recruitment, this transitioning of interns into full-time hires may be the most viable option for some employers. NACE’s 2010 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey shows the average cost-per-hire for a class of 2010 new hire at $8,947; there is no doubt that hiring from an internship program decreases that cost.

NACE’s 2010 Internship and Co-op Survey also found a positive correlation between internship experience and employee retention. Approximately 86% of those employees who had previously interned with their organization were still employed there after one year. Meanwhile, 64% of previous interns remained with their organization after five years.

Continuing with recruitment benefits, internship programs are a great means of advertising because interns act as “brand ambassadors” for your organization. In 2008, Intern Bridge, the nation’s leading college recruiting consulting firm, collected over 42,000 student responses in their National Internship Co-op Study. Some 94% of those students expressed that they share their internship experiences with friends, and it’s not hard to believe that word can spread quickly on a college campus.

Aside from recruitment, it is also important to consider interns as a valuable source of knowledge as the business world continues to evolve into a more virtual climate. Social media is second nature to the millennial generation with “facebooking” and “tweeting” part of their daily regimen. Interns may be the easiest, most effective and cost-efficient way to take your organization to the next level in social media marketing.

Students must also consider the implications of today’s recruiting and job searching. The process has come a long way from executive search firms – to the start of online recruiting with Monster.com’s launch in 1994 – to the most recent advance of social media recruiting.

As a result of this evolution, job searching is becoming easier, quicker and less expensive. Back in the 20th century, an individual’s job search was geographically limited, with search time and application processes both time-consuming and costly. Today, an individual’s job search is geographically unlimited, quick and, for the most part, free; many job openings only require that you upload your resume to a free online job database.

Because of these changes in job searching, opportunities are becoming more competitive. Employers are receiving hundreds and sometimes thousands of applications from candidates around the state, nation and even globe. In this competitive market, internships are proving such a fundamental and crucial way for distinguishing oneself from the pack.

From an applicant perspective, consider the many advantages internships offer: 1) an internship can provide the relevant work experience you may need now or down the road; 2) interning will grow your professional network – if you know someone in an organization, it is more likely you will receive a response to your application; and 3) an internship may lead to full-time employment – as previously mentioned, more and more employers indicate using internship programs to recruit entry-level college hires.

There couldn’t be a more perfect time to get involved with an internship program. With more than 3,800 employers and nearly 16,000 students registered, Indiana INTERNnet is a great place to begin those internship connections. If you haven’t already, visit www.indianaintern.net to register for a free employer or student account.

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