[Excerpt] Most companies hire college summer interns for one of two reasons: to build their talent pipeline of future full-time hires and “test drive” potential employees, or as a way to increase their short-term workforce in order to complete a project.1 Both are legitimate business practices and, while some companies choose to hire interns for one reason or the other, the best internship programs are the ones where those purposes intersect. If the goal is to convert interns into permanent employees, it is of critical importance to provide students an experience that exposes them to new and challenging work. In fact, the top three reasons that students listed for pursuing an internship were to gain real world experience, build their resume, and learn new skills.
While it may seem simple to meet those criteria, companies that have exceptional internship programs dedicate considerable resources and planning to achieve their level of success. This paper will highlight a selection of practices that leading internship programs employ, divided into two categories – Structure and Perks.