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Recruiting Interns? You Might Want To Start Early | GradConnection Hong Kong

Posted by Sasha

Recruiting Interns? You Might Want to Start Early

Have you noticed the Asian intern recruitment season is starting earlier and earlier each year? What was once a reliable event in the September calendar, intern recruitment activity now seems to kick off from as early as August. Are you prepared for the new battleground?

A mutually beneficial opportunity

With the unemployment rate in Hong Kong still sitting low, competition for graduates is increasing and employers are looking to snap up quality talent as early as possible. The benefits of these earlier relationships are plentiful.

One of the key insights from the SEAAGE conference is that the more exposure students have with actual or simulated experiences mirroring professional life in an organisation, the more prepared they feel for the workforce and the faster they can be onboarded.

Further, the earlier employers can establish quality relationships and experiences with students the better you can build brand loyalty and reduce the risk of appointed graduates reneging before they start.

How to better prepare for intern recruitment

There are a few things you can do to improve your intern attraction and engagement strategy, so that you’re better prepared all year around: 

  1. Consider ways to connect with students from their first year of university, introducing them to your student and graduate opportunities.
  2. Promote your early career employer brand consistently, all year around. You could do this with a GradConnection employer page, on campus presentations, guest lectures, student society sponsorships, and career fairs to focus on intern engagement as much as graduate program engagement.
  3. Consider multiple internship programs throughout the year (depending on your graduate intake needs and capacity). Don’t compromise quality.

How to manage interns once you have them

Hiring quality interns is a great opportunity to screen for potential future graduate program talent without the long-term commitment if you find out you aren’t a fit. To make sure you’re keeping them engaged with the best intern experience possible, you might like to consider these key points:

  1. Provide a valuable learning experience – project based work, ‘hackathons’, introduce interns to senior leaders and existing graduate cohort. 
  2. Include some personal and/or professional development – Potentially, you are able to share basic online learning modules to help your interns with job-readiness (e.g. interpersonal skills, time management). Fifty-six per cent of the graduates we surveyed who said they might renege, said they would renege for a better learning and development program.
  3. Provide a realistic job preview or rotations through several roles that might be relevant to your intern’s qualification and interests.
  4. Conduct an informal post-internship interview to gauge their experience with your organisation and the roles and projects they were exposed to. Is your intern a high performer or desirable future leader? Can you offer them a contract to join the graduate program? Can you offer them part-time work until they graduate or a subsequent internship the following semester/year?

Intern recruitment has become the new battleground for employers looking to secure top talent before their final graduating year. However, there’s more to graduate recruitment than finding suitable and talented graduates. You also need an effective strategy in place to keep your talent engaged.

Connect with students at our Hong Kong University Student Career Fair

Is hiring interns high on your graduate talent acquisition strategy?

Our inaugural Hong Kong University Student Career Fair is being held on 28th September 2019. We are creating one unified career fair in Hong Kong, where employers can showcase their brand directly to all university students, from all the major universities in Hong Kong.

You can find more details on our website.


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