New WetFeet Recruiting Study Reveals Best-in-Class Internship Programs Convert Twice as Many Interns to Full-Time Employees

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WetFeet’s Internship Programs Report 2006 reveals a broad gap in hiring yields among employers that rely on their internship programs for road-tested, full-time talent. To assess the state of internship recruitment today and define guidelines for employers seeking to improve the hiring yields from their programs, WetFeet surveyed over 2,100 students who completed internships in 2005, including a subset from seven highly-regarded internship employers (Banc of America Securities, Deutsche Bank, Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, Philip Morris USA, Procter & Gamble and UBS).

WetFeet’s Internship Programs Report 2006 reveals a broad gap in hiring yields among employers that rely on their internship programs for road-tested, full-time talent. The WetFeet study demonstrates that employers with best-in-class programs are able to convert more than twice as many of their interns to full-time hires than are other companies.

To assess the state of internship recruitment today and define guidelines for employers seeking to improve the hiring yields from their programs, WetFeet surveyed over 2,100 students who completed internships in 2005, including a subset from seven highly-regarded internship employers (Banc of America Securities, Deutsche Bank, Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, Philip Morris USA, Procter & Gamble and UBS).

UNREALIZED OPPORTUNITY IN INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS

Although employers are increasing the number of offers they extend to interns, most companies have yet to increase their hiring yields. As of November 2005, 59% of undergrad and 71% of MBA interns reported that they had already or expected to receive a full-time offer from their internship employer (up from 43% and 63% respectively in 2003).

In contrast, students who interned at the seven programs we studied in depth received and accepted full-time offers at an extraordinarily higher rate. As of November 2005, 63% of undergrad interns and 80% of MBAs had received or expected to receive a full-time offer. Of that group, 59% of undergrad and 57% of MBA interns who had received or expected to receive full-time offers from the seven participating companies planned to accept them. In sharp contrast, only 27% and 29% of undergrads and MBAs who had received or expected full-time offers from other employers planned to accept them.

“Most employers view conversion of interns to full-time hires as the number one objective of their program,” said Steve Pollock, president of WetFeet and author of the report. “When one group can double the conversion rate of other employers, they clearly have a competitive edge in the war for talent.”

Just in time for the arrival of summer interns, the WetFeet report reveals which components of the internship program have the greatest influence on an intern’s decision to accept an offer.

HOW INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS STAND OUT

While interns appear to be very satisfied with their internship experience (83% of undergraduates and 79% of MBAs overall gave their internship an overall rating of 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale), interns at standout programs cited very specific reasons why their internship was particularly influential in their decision to accept a full-time offer:

  • Interns’ work assignments were challenging and mission-critical
  • Interns received plenty of exposure to full-time work responsibilities
  • Interns had exceptional managers overseeing their program
  • Interns started their programs with greater interest in working for the company full-time
  • Interns received significant exposure to upper management
  • Interns were mentored throughout their internship and received formal feedback on their performance
  • Interns received better compensation packages
  • Interns received full-time offers soon after completion of the internship

WHAT INTERNS WANT

Best practice employers understand what makes for a great internship experience in the eyes of candidates, and they fine-tune their recruiting and internship experience to make it a win-win for employers and candidates.

This can be a delicate balancing act, since employers and candidates have different perspectives on the internship experience. While interns clearly understand that employers are eager to use their internship programs as a means of finding full-time candidates, students see securing a full-time offer from the intern employer as a secondary objective. Instead, both undergrads and MBAs see the internship as a means to secure training and experience, with one important difference; most undergrads (70%) seek to get additional training in their field of study, while 80% of MBAs see the internship as a means of transitioning to a new field of work.

“There’s a real gap between what employers want and what interns are seeking,” said Pollock. “Employers see their internship program as extended tryouts for a full-time job, yet the interns are much more interested in getting great experience and building their resume. The best internship employers do a great job of delivering an exceptional experience, while structuring the program and conversion process in a way to maximize their full-time hires.”

The WetFeet Internship Programs Report 2006 is available now and can be purchased online at http://www.wetfeetresearch.com. A free report overview and table of contents is also available for download.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Study author Steve Pollock leads all of WetFeet’s recruitment consulting and research initiatives. Each research effort is timed to inform the current recruiting cycle and includes actionable recommendations for employers to apply to their recruiting efforts. Steve is an expert on the world of recruitment and talent management, having led the industry’s recruitment research since 1994. Steve received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he graduated with distinction as an Arjay Miller Scholar. He holds a BA from Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude.

ABOUT WETFEET

WetFeet Research & Consulting is the authoritative resource for factual data, emerging trends and informed strategy on effective talent recruiting including sourcing, screening, evaluation, campus recruiting, online recruiting, diversity and retention. WetFeet also provides recruiting software and recruitment marketing services to top employers, and career and company-specific research to job seekers.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Suzy McKee