How to Leverage Summer Interns to Bolster Recruiting Efforts


Summer interns can be an incredible, often overlooked asset for your company. One of the most valuable aspects of an internship program is the stellar reputation it can build for your company as a diverse and inclusive workplace. Once your interns have benefited personally from your program, you can leverage their satisfaction and goodwill as they return to their communities. Acting as ambassadors on your behalf, they’ll quickly repay the benefits they received.

With your support, direction, and commitment, former interns can become your best recruiters, building your future pipeline while driving highly-qualified, diverse talent in your company’s direction. 

Excited, loyal interns can be your best allies

Interns who have worked for you all summer, whether in-person or virtually, will be returning to their campuses – what do you want them to be saying about you? Think about this as your internship program draws to a close, and provide your outgoing interns with materials and verbiage.

Former interns can be your program’s best advertisement. Students with internships influence those among their peers who are also seeking internship opportunities. How they describe their experiences at your company can be the most effective advertisement your program could ask for – after all, 67% of experienced hires come through peer referrals!

Think of it this way: your interns just concluded a 10-week interview with your company and can gauge the value you offer. This is even more true this summer when many internships have been virtual. If your interns felt embraced and valued under these abnormal circumstances, they will have high praise for your company. And when your interns go back to their peers with glowing reports with specific emphasis on how you are building a diverse and inclusive workplace, you’ll find that the best and brightest in your target demographic naturally gravitate to your company.

Be present and visible on college campuses

You can back up what your interns are saying by being physically present and supporting them. Investigate where your diverse talent is spending their time – what organizations are they part of? 

If you want to increase diverse talent, you must use diverse interns. If you’re going to hire diverse interns, you must understand and embrace cultural components. By sponsoring preferred cultural memberships on campus, you assist the campus and the students by demonstrating that you are absorbing the lessons your interns are teaching you. 

Work through career services to provide practical support, like career guidance and resume building tools, but also make sure you are listening to the voice of the students who will form the backbone of your diverse workforce. Interns are an excellent source for the student voices and the voice of the graduate, so pay attention. 

When you focus on what you can do for your interns (rather than what they can do for you), your company will create strong and lasting relationships built on mutual trust. 

The above is a key point to remember. One of the best things you can offer your internships is mentorship. That doesn’t have to end when the summer does. By continuing your mentoring efforts, you will be helping your interns expand their professional network, which will be helpful in every aspect of their future careers. That is not something that is easily forgotten.

When exiting interns talk to their peers about workplace diversity and inclusivity and how the skills and knowledge they learned are opening doors, you are on track to achieve your pipeline goals. You’ll find that by collaborating with and leveraging your summer interns, their word-of-mouth referrals to your program deliver more high-quality candidates than any marketing initiative could ever hope to provide. 

Mentor Spaces

Attracting early career diverse talent can be facilitated with tools that help you foster communication and mentorship with these emerging leaders. Mentor Spaces can help you by:

  • Promoting a company culture of inclusivity and diversity, helping you make your workplace more inviting to the motivated, hungry talent you are seeking to attract
  • Connecting your mentors to a network of positive, action-taking and motivated young adults from diverse backgrounds seeking a path to career advancement
  • Joining you to a community of like-minded professionals seeking to build their teams by bringing in diverse, talented individuals that could otherwise be overlooked when recruiting through traditional channels
  • Combining a top-quality internship program with tools like Mentor Spaces can help you build an organization known for its inclusive, diverse company culture. Turning your outgoing summer interns into ambassadors for your brand will be a natural byproduct, leading to a boosted and streamlined recruiting process.

When you bolster your internship program with a boots-on-the-ground approach to being a visible presence on college campuses, sponsoring cultural memberships and asking questions with the intent of listening to the answers, you can create an active community built on trust and mutual respect. 

Over time, your recruiting will begin to organically self-populate, as your interns do the recruiting for you, by bringing the smartest and most capable talent directing to your doors. Mentor Spaces can help facilitate, nurture and streamline these processes, bringing you, your interns, and future hires together in new and exciting ways.