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6 Reasons Why Your Intern Conversion Rates Could Be Low

Written by Anna George on August 31, 2022
3 min read

Offering internships is a fantastic way to attract talented entry-level candidates to a company. Organizations often hire students for a specific timeframe to assess how well they contribute to projects and fit in with the workplace culture. Despite recent successes in intern conversion rates, some employers are struggling to convert interns to full-time employees. 

In this blog, find out why you could be finding it hard to convert interns to full-time, and tips to boost your intern conversion rates.

Finding It Hard To Convert Interns To Full-time?

Employers have struggled with the intern-to-employee conversion rate for years. Companies spend time, money, people, and other resources establishing a strong internship program for students in the hope to produce a pool of full-time entry-level candidates. However,  students may decide to use their internship-based real-world experience in different organizations. Here are some of the reasons your internship conversion rate may be lower:

1. Lengthy Hiring Timelines

Lengthy hiring timelines often attract low conversion rates for your interns. While it may take an average of 30–49 days to hire mid-level employees, it takes nine months to a year to welcome a new graduate to their first day of work for interns and entry-level workers. If a candidate's internship for the summer terminates before an open position is available, you may wait until new opportunities arise to hire them full-time. During this time, students are likely to find better opportunities and reject your offer.

2. Unsatisfactory Onboarding Experience

The onboarding experience a candidate gets with your company affects their decision to stay. According to a study by Gallup, only 12% of employers strongly agree that their company's onboarding process is great. This presents a huge gap for companies to improve their onboarding process. Organizations with effective onboarding procedures have the potential to increase employee retention rates by 82%. If your conversion rates are abysmal, you may want to review the onboarding process to identify pain points.

3. Lack of Career Growth Opportunities

If your company lacks professional growth opportunities, you risk having 43% of Gen Zers exit from your organization, according to a Zety survey. Smart university recruiters consider more than just how a candidate can benefit the larger organization. They present themselves as a tool to help each candidate enhance their career by providing opportunities to network, pursue career progression, and develop skills.

4. Lack of Mentorship

Most candidates lack proper guidance when starting entry-level jobs, with 58% of Gen Zers reporting to have never had a mentor in their life. According to a survey by 74 million, only 38% of people have a role model in their lives who exemplifies a strong work ethic. Therefore, the majority of candidates in their early careers expect to receive advice and mentorship from their employers. Focusing on micro-managing these candidates rather than mentoring them can contribute to low conversion rates.

5. Inflexible Working Hours

Recently, there has been an upsurge in remote work, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As things get back to normal, many workplaces are reverting to in-person work and scrapping remote work modalities altogether. If you want to attract and retain Gen Z candidates, flexibility is key.

According to a Handshake study, flexible working hours are at the top of Gen Zers' minds, but they also want social interaction. In essence, Gen Z candidates want the best of both worlds; the ability to work remotely while gathering for in-person social connections. If your company is not offering flexibility, this could affect intern conversion rates.

6. Lack of a Brand Identity

Your brand identity is the persona you wish to project to the public and can include your values, personality, and product line. Although having an effective hiring strategy is still crucial, having a strong brand identity expands the pool of applicants eager to work for your company. 

For Gen Zers, who are tech-savvy and the most active social media users, having a positive brand identity can determine whether they intern with you and if they wish to come back to your company after graduation. Also, building a reputation for training and mentoring your employees can lessen the likelihood that someone will want to quit.

Leverage Symba All-in-One Platform to Convert Interns to Full-time

Boost your intern conversion rates with Symba, the all-in-one platform for managing your internship program from onboarding to offboarding. Track key metrics and use data insights to optimize your internship program and bring the interns, alumni, and managers of your program together with Symba. Schedule a demo today and get a walk-through of our platform!

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Anna George

Anna George is a Digital Marketing Intern at Symba. Previously, Anna has worked as a Communications Intern for a nonprofit organization. She graduated with her BAJMC in Advertising and Minor in Sociology at Drake University. Outside of work, you will find her out and about searching for unique small businesses in her area or playing with her dog!

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