How to get the most out of your graduate interns and temps

Monday, February 20, 2017 12:32

Jane Allan by Jane Allan

Eight months ago, in my role as Communications Director at CoSector, I had to build a team from the ground up after two previous experienced team members flew the nest to pastures new.  

They left in quick succession, so I had to get the right people - fast.

Assessing your needs

My first reaction was to look at hiring experienced marketing and communications specialists that could deliver the challenging targets we'd set for our organisation. I concluded it was a combination of experience and flexibility that was needed while our organisation adapted and grew.

One of the CoSector services is to provide graduate internships and temporary placements under our Recruitment Services division (previously part of The Careers Group), so the decision to look at the talent pool on our doorstep was an obvious one.

hiring a graduate intern

Hiring a graduate intern and temp

My first recruit was for a fixed skill set, that of a copywriter. Very quickly it became clear that the graduate intern was far more capable than the initial role of copywriter once I gave them opportunity to get involved in a key project. I then advertised for two further graduate placements and an experienced temporary placement with a view to permanent roles if the team structure was right.

READ MORE: 6 reasons to hire a graduate intern

Brining in the experienced team member in early was key as they acted as both a manager and a mentor in those first few weeks. Having a structured induction also proved beneficial, scheduling key meetings with product owners across the business over a number of weeks, give things time to sink in, it can be a little overwhelming to do it all in the first week.

All new team members also sat in a variety of different meetings across the group, some to simply listen and gain an understanding of the business others they were putting forward marketing solutions and creative ideas.

graduate interns

Each team member contributed significantly in the building of our social media presence within the first few weeks; they came up with ideas, wrote papers, presented to management, and built relationships with our product specialists.

What I have witnessed, and what others have commented on from our business, is how engaged the graduates are. Some have more experience than others, but they all came in with fresh thinking, creative ideas, new perspectives, and different solutions. I believe in giving any team member the opportunity to learn, develop, and try new things. Some ideas have worked, others have not, but allowing them to try has been very fruitful. 

READ MORE: A day in the life of a graduate intern 

Learn and lead

The team have a wealth of talent that our business has already benefited from. One of the most rewarding parts of my job in the last year has been to see them grow and take on challenges that I would have been terrified of at their stage of career. A little autonomy goes a long way. Giving feedback and imparting your own knowledge and experience of handling sometimes difficult situations builds relationships and confidence.

graduate placements

From intern to permanent 

After six months, it was clear that the three graduates and temporary experienced team member were the right fit, so I took the decision to turn the roles into permanent positions. Sadly for us, one of the graduate interns decided to move on after their six month contract was up.

They were so nervous to advise me they were moving on, to the sunny climates of Dubai no less. They told me they felt like they were letting the team down in some way by moving on, but spoke about how much they’d learnt and that it had been a great development experience. I too have learnt a lot over those six months, so it was a win-win for us both.


New start, new talent

Sad as their departure was, it was an easy decision to give another graduate the opportunity to join our team. At the round of interviews, a candidate turned to one of the now permanent recruits who sat in on the interview and asked, “What is the best thing about working at CoSector as a graduate intern?” The answer?

“To be given the opportunity to try new things, development opportunities to expand my skill set and to make a contribution.”

I was gushing with pride, what an endorsement! There could be no greater advert than that to hire a graduate intern.

How we can help

Do you have a project that needs a specific skill set? Perhaps you want to expand your team but need the flexibility as the organisation grows or is in transformation?

We are passionate about helping students, graduates and companies reach their potential through recruitment, career advice, and training. Why not give our Recruitment Services team a line - they'll be happy to talk through your needs.   

Click here to visit our webpage, (includes online form) or call our team on 020 7863 6070.


Posted in Recruitment