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5 Steps to Stay Connected with Your Interns Post-Internship

Published by Ahva Sadeghi on August 13, 2020
3 min read

Ahva Sadeghi

Ahva is the CEO and Co-Founder of Symba. She is a passionate social entrepreneur, and was recently named Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Global Entrepreneur Scholar by the US Department of State. Ahva completed her graduate studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she served as President of the Human Rights Students Committee and received the John Lewis Fellow with Humanity in Action.

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5 Steps to Stay Connected with Your Interns Post-Internship

By Team Symba

Internship season is wrapping up; however, your relationship with your interns could just be starting. Your interns have the potential to go on to become leaders within your company like the CEOs of Xerox and Dreamworks who started off as interns. Understanding why and how to keep in communication with you interns can add long term value to your organization. 

Why should you stay in touch with your interns after the internship?

To ensure you are communicating effectively while working from home, we’ve put together a small guide:

1. Recruitment

For starters, the goal of many internship programs is recruiting your next full-time hires from a vetted talent pool. If you stay in touch with past interns, you are far more likely to bring them on as full time hires in the future. You can take note of their graduation date to reach out when they are ready to enter into the job market for full-time opportunities and stay top of mind for them. 

2. Your company's brand

Moreover, former interns also write company reviews on popular websites like Glassdoor, helping boost the company’s brand with positive reviews. Your intern alumni will most likely speak about their experience working with our company and have the potential to elevate your organization’s brand. Keeping in contact and continuing to nurture your interns after a program ends can help ensure they remain to have a positive perception of the company.

3. Strengthen Company Culture

Internships are a great way to boost your company’s culture and bring teams together. Your hiring managers can become great mentors for your interns and further develop their own leadership skills. Many great companies encourage hiring managers to keep in touch with their interns afterwards through virtual coffee chats and emails. 

These reasons indicate how important it is to build lasting relationships with your interns after they finish their internship and have an alumni strategy in place.

Step 1: Collect Contact Information

Engaging your interns after they leave begins with ensuring you have the correct contact information. While your former intern’s corporate email may remain active, they are unlikely to check it frequently. Therefore, ensure you have a forward email address to send all future communications and a mailing address to send swag and holiday cards. If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to connect on LinkedIn.

Step 2: Select a Medium

Picking an ideal communication mode is important to continuing the conversation with your former interns. Platforms like Symba, LinkedIn Groups, and Slack all offer their own unique benefits. While email blasts are relatively simple, it is difficult to form a sense of community as scene in other platforms. Symba empowers you to connect with your alumni directly on our platform. When your interns leave, several “Alumni Features” can be activated to help continue the conversation. Setting up an intern alumni channel in Slack or creating a LinkedIn group allows each cohort to check in with each other and your organization after the internship.

Step 3: Establish Cadence of Contact

No matter what mode of communication you have selected, it is imperative that your former interns understand the benefits of staying in contact with your company. Companies like General Motors opt to send out a monthly newsletter to their current and former interns. At Linkedin, they invite former interns to answer questions during a live webinar. Other notable organizations host quarterly speaker series, networking opportunities, and resume workshops. There is no correct approach to how you contact your intern alumni, only that the communication be consistent and that the intern derives value from staying in contact.

Step 4: Nurture Your All Star Interns

As the largest driving factor behind internships is recruiting, now is the time to determine which alumni interns you want to hire full-time in the future. Some Fortune-500 companies even retain over 80% of their interns as entry-level hires. Reach out to those high performing interns and express your gratitude for their efforts over the summer. Ask them if they would be interested in joining your company full time, and detail that you would be able to answer any questions they may have. It is important to introduce the idea to your intern rather than abruptly offering them a job. By focusing on relationship building, your alumni are far more likely to join the company in the future. 

Step 5: Celebrate Interns Receiving Full-Time Offers

For those interns who have accepted your job offer, it is important to keep in touch with them and ensure they remain enthusiastic about joining the team. This can be accomplished by sending a care package of useful “corporate swag” in the mail during finals, offering opportunities to work on short-term paid projects, and hosting service events where new hires can volunteer alongside full-time employees. To ensure your future employees are prepared for their new job, invite them to coffee or lunch when company representatives visit their universities. These efforts will strengthen the relationship between you and your former interns, adding value over time.

For more information on best practices to engage remote interns and get a live demo of the Alumni Features on Symba’s Intern Management Platform, you can sign up here.

By Ahva Sadeghi

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