3 Important Tips to Nurture Your Interns and Co-ops Even After They Leave

Last updated on June 10, 2024

Although 2 in 5 companies in the U.S. consider internships to be a valuable resource, most businesses don’t realize that nurturing their former interns and co-ops is key to building a strong employer brand. Interns will develop an opinion of your organization after working for you for a few months, but what can also have a huge impact on their overall employee experience is post-internship communication.

Thanks to expressing how valuable their work has been for your business even after they leave, your intern talent will likely talk positively about your company to their network, including students and prospects. And what could position your business as an employer of choice better than positive feedback?

Why interns and co-ops are important to employer branding

Building trust: The younger generation is happy to write company reviews on Google or job sites like Glassdoor, and their short summaries can hugely impact your organization’s reputation. Plus, only one enjoying-my-time-at-work Instagram or Facebook post is enough to get in front of thousands of people and make them think, ‘Wow, it must be a great workplace’.

Innovation: interns are curious and they bring new ideas to the table, helping you strengthen your company culture and elevate your employer brand. Invest your time and energy into gaining valuable insights from them because that can lead to fresh perspectives

A motivated talent pipeline: as they have experienced what it is like working for you, when a former intern applies for a full-time job at your company, it indicates that they are already committed and motivated to working for you. So there’s a higher possibility that one of them will go on to become your next superstar employee or future CEO.

What interns want

Intern talent wants to check whether what they’re studying is what they imagined in real life. In other words, whether it is what they want to do from 9 till 5. And whether your company is an environment they would fit in. If they say to themselves, ‘Yes, this is where I belong’, you get the chance to entice them back. An effective way to achieve that is to make them feel appreciated.

3 important tips to nurture intern talent after their internships are over

 

1. Establish a strong off-boarding process

A recognizable offboarding process is key to maintaining a prolonged relationship with your former interns. It reduces misunderstandings and increases the chance of converting interns into advocates.

Here’s how you can achieve that:

  • Understand their employee experience. Hold evaluations and exit interviews so you can not only develop your internship programs and people management strategies based on their feedback, but your interns will also feel that their opinions matter.
  • Ensure that the off-boarding experience is positive and easy. Actually, the whole process should reflect that you care. Tell your interns how glad you were to have them on board and make sure your exit surveys don’t feel like an exam. 

2. Stay in touch on social media

Post-internship outreach helps you deepen the bond and enhance interns’ perception of your employer brand. Basically, interns aren’t expecting you to nurture them once they leave, so a few small gestures can go a long way. And when they begin to consider their post-graduation career options, it can become a dealbreaker for your hiring campaigns.

Here’s how you can achieve that:

  • Connect with them on Linkedin or Instagram, and like their posts. You can also ask their mentors and former teammates to do it too. This will suggest that they’re on your radar.
  • Leave meaningful comments under their career-related posts. The comments don’t need to be long because 2-3 sentences are enough to show that you’re paying attention.
  • Congratulate them in a comment if they post something about an achievement. Since they are just starting out in their careers, it will mean a great deal to them. 

3. Act like a marketer

A marketer mindset is vital to building a loyal intern pool through nurturing. If you want to keep your former interns engaged, there are numerous marketing strategies you can apply to make your employer brand more human-centric and stay on the top of your interns’ mind easily.

Here’s how you can achieve that:

    • Send them updates, share job opportunities with them, and invite them to events such as webinars via email. Personalize your emails as much as possible so that they can feel you’re talking to them directly. For example, use your interns’ first names when starting your emails instead of ‘Hey there!’.
    • Create your social media content with former interns in mind and pay particular attention to company culture. Although they know how a typical day looks at your company already, engaging posts can generate an irresistible longing for coming back to you.
  • Turning your former interns into brand ambassadors is a highly effective way to nurturing your relationships with them and increasing employer brand awareness at the same time. Promoting your employer brand on campus or on social, your brand ambassadors will have a strong sense of achievement that will make them emotionally more involved.

Use CTAs (call-to-actions) in your communication – just like a marketer. It means that you encourage them to take action. For instance, ‘stay in contact’, ‘share your experience with your friends’, and ‘tag us on social if you share a memory’. As a result, your interns will leave with a clear picture of what they should do exactly after finishing their internships.

Wrap Up

By establishing a robust off-boarding process, staying connected through social media, and using marketing strategies to engage former interns, you can turn them into enthusiastic brand ambassadors. This approach not only enhances your reputation but also builds a motivated talent pipeline and fosters long-term loyalty. Treating internships as more than temporary assignments and investing in post-internship relationships ensures that interns leave with a positive impression and a willingness to return or advocate for your organization.

Lizz Durbin

Lizz is an Account Executive at Boostpoint where she enjoys connecting with new customers. With years of invaluable experience in recruitment, she empowers Talent Acquisition teams to find the best employees and escalate organizational growth. Her passion for fostering inspiring work environments, combined with her creativity and strategic mindset, greatly contributes to the advancement of Talent Acquisition. She brings a deep belief in our products, aligning her passion for sales with a genuine conviction in their value.

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