Why Intern Benefits that Are Better than Money

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Everyone remembers the scene in Jerry Maguire when Ron gets Jerry to yell Show Me the Money at the top of his lungs.  Certainly no one is opposed to getting paid and an hourly wage is an important part of any intern compensation, but it is worth noting that there are other forms of benefits that you can offer that are far more valuable than money in most interns’ eyes.

Intern Benefits Offered by Every Fortune 500 Company

1.     Trips to baseball games, amusement parks, restuarants, etc.

2.     Free food.

3.     Brown bag lunches with executives.

4.     Speaker events featuring industry leaders.

5.     Money! (except in the music/entertainment/news industries–every competitive internship program pays their interns).

All of these intern benefits listed here are fantastic and can make the difference in whether or not a student intern who you are courting as a potential full-time hire, comes on board.

That all being said all of these perks are a fairy tale.  Savvy students know that these aren’t what they should expect when they come to work full-time and oftentimes they are like giving someone cash for their birthday – it is nice but rings a bit hollow.  Far stronger are deep perks that truly advance the student in a way they can’t experience anywhere else.

 Five Internship Benefits Offered by the Most Innovative Companies

1.     Allow interns to impact culture. Last summer Cisco let their intern Greg Justice create and publish a rap video about his time at the company.  The video went viral, showed up in major publications and got over 100,000 views, both bringing a ton of awareness to Cisco’s internship program and a phenomenal experience to Greg.  Companies that empower interns rather than censor them are rewarded with better hires.

2.     Be audacious: 42Floors stirred up attention when they made a public job offer on their blog to a student they were recruiting.  The public nature of the post showed how much they respected him as a potential employee, and furthermore, they said the job offer was open for three years – telling him that they were in it for the long haul.  With so many companies offering low caliber jobs and pay to students. 42Floors stood out as a great place to work as  a student.

3.     Create traditions.  At Hootsuite every employee who joins the company, including interns, is initiated by being forced to put on the famous Hootsuite mascot outfit and chug a beer (they are based in Canada so beer chugging is a little more normal in the office).  This isn’t an expensive outing, it’s a tradition that makes the intern feel like they are a part of the team even though they are only there for a short period.

4.     Give interns the spotlight.  Nestle Purina has a massive internship program that seeks out top students, but being based in St. Louis provides a challenge for them to be as attractive as possible to students. However, Glassdoor has continuously ranked them as one of the top places to work and its not just because they have a lot of cute dogs in the office – they make their office fun.  This summer they let their interns start a Flash Mob in front of the whole office – there is a lot of pride amongst Nestle Purina interns.

5.     Learning.  The real reason students take on internships is not to go on fun trips with their friends – it is to learn about the professional world.  Nest offers one of the top internship programs in the country, not because they offer a fun filled summer, but because every intern is given both a boss and a mentor, as well as a massive project to complete that actually gets implemented by the company.  Students are exposed to new coding languages, software programs, and build a resume that would be impossible to build at school or at most companies.

Top Internship Programs Without Alot of Cash

Building a top internship program takes careful thought and preparation.  Fortunately the best intern benefits rarely cost a lot of money.

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Nathan Parcells is co-founder and CMO of InternMatch.com, a leading website to help students find amazing internships and help companies find amazing interns. Nathan is an expert on how companies can engage and retain university talent. Nathan loves speaking with HR experts, recruiters, and students about trends and challenges in college hiring, feel free to reach him at Nathan@internmatch.com, on twitter @internmatch.

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