Today's Intern Is Tomorrow's Star Hire

When you think about hiring interns, you may be thinking about all the ways that an intern can help your business right now. Maybe you're looking for someone to blog for you or to help you with your social media. But, what you should also be thinking about is finding the intern that could be your next great hire.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that nearly 40 percent of this year's entry-level positions will likely be filled by former interns. That number is up from five years ago, when only 30 percent of entry-level hires came from former interns.

For example, Pricewaterhouse Coopers reports that between 40 and 45 percent of this year's entry-level class consists of former interns. A representative of the company explained that former interns perform better than non-interns. In addition, PWC has found that former interns understand the company's culture and therefore are less likely to leave quickly because of a bad fit. Knowing how a company is organized and what it is like working for it going into employment quells fears and concerns before employment begins.

What does that mean for you - the employer - as you get ready to hire summer interns?

Differentiate between a short-term need and a long term potential:

If you think that the internship could develop into a long-term position, look for interns with the same qualities as the rest of your team. If the internship is truly just a short-term assignment, look for the person who's the most qualified to get the job done right now! Plan for the present with an eye for the future.

Teach Your Company Culture:

Again, if you are using the internship as a trial run for a long-term spot, take the time to expose your intern to your company culture. Inclusion in company meetings, event s and status updates are all a good start. Also, if your staff works on site, have your intern work on site as well. The same holds true for a completely virtual environment. Only then will you see if you potentially have a good long term fit.

Don't Rule Out the Possibilities:

Even if you hire an intern thinking there's slim to no chance that a long-term job will follow, don't rule out the possibility that you may be surprised! Circumstances change and team dynamics develop. When you do make the decision to hire, you may find that the greatest talent is right in front of your eyes.

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