I believe a best practice includes offering internships, co-ops, apprenticeships or other enticements. This provides you and the prospective team member with a chance to kick the tires. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, 40 percent of respondents’ new hires came from internships or co-op programs. I would encourage you to follow a structured approach — students today have lots of options, and you want to ensure that their time with you is a quality experience. Often, they can become your best recruiters when they return to the classroom.
Sometimes companies complain that they spend all kinds of time and money training someone, and then that person goes to work for a competitor. I have a colorful answer to this concern, but my polite answer is: “They’re yours to lose. If you take care of them and give them a good experience, they won’t leave.” In my next post, I’ll recommend a system that will almost guarantee the students you want to work for you will stay.
I’m aware of a $400 million professional service firm that had two managing partners who began working at the firm as summer interns, where they were proofreaders. Fortunately, their supervisor was wise enough to observe their potential and made a special point of introducing them to the right partners. As they say, the rest is history.
As many of you know, apprenticeships for shop floor team members, which were very common years ago, are rare — so you can really distinguish your company in this way and attract the best students.
Do you have a pipeline for new hires, such as internships, co-ops or apprenticeships? I believe there is no downside to these practices!