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Time to accept that interns and internship programs are evolving to meet today’s labor market. Think of the movie “Internship” where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson work to earn a position at Google. They’re not students, but they are seeking an opportunity to “gain a coveted position at Google.” In some cases, the internship isn’t the companion to a college graduation requirement. It’s simply an internship for the sake of job experience or it may resemble a role similar to a contingent labor position.
Elizabeth Lawman, a 30-year-old freelance writer, took an unpaid internship because she always dreamed of writing for a magazine. Working as an intern, she found that her internship didn’t land her that dream job, but it did help her determine the best job for her. There’s value in a ‘try before you buy’ experience for both the company and the employee.
Let’s be honest, interns (current college students, college grads, downsized employees, or career shifters) are untapped resources and could represent future hiring managers, vice presidents and CEOs in years to come.
To find the best-suited talent for your company, you could benefit from an internship program. And it doesn’t need to be connected with a college. What if your Managed Service Provider (MSP, the company managing your contingent staffing program) performed this role for your company? Like an internship program, your company is not obligated to hire entry-level candidates. The intern (contingent worker) can come in through the vendor management system (VMS) and complete the requested assignment. Assignments are typically set for a specific job type and duration and offer the intern the opportunity to gain experience and insight into a better-suited permanent role or a permanent position with the company they’ve interned with. The company benefits as well because the intern’s work can be evaluated, rated and considered for permanent roles. By allowing an MSP to run an internship program, it would look much like a contingent workforce program. The MSP can also make the client aware if there are any red flags for this candidate. Understanding performance data will come in handy if this candidate is ever submitted and considered for a permanent position.
A huge pharmaceutical client Pontoon works with adopted the motto “try before you buy” in one of their manufacturing facilities. This client brings on candidates with entry level to two years’ of experience and has them work six-month assignments renewing their contracts if they are doing a good job. Once the client’s budget allows, they will bring on full time personnel. And the first candidates hired are typically the positions filled by Pontoon and the client’s preferred vendors. This approach has been tremendously successful because managers are hiring experienced candidates that know what is expected of them rather than hiring someone based on a couple interviews and reference checks.
Think about it, who better to run your internship program than the same company/partnership that manages you contingent labor program? Do you currently have an internship program? Who manages it?