In case you haven’t thought about the value of a good intern program lately, let me assure you— it goes far beyond just checking the box.
If you want diamonds, you have to take the time to mine, sort, and polish them.
Here are four (of many) lessons that we learned this summer with our first round of Rustici interns. We’ll start with the most altruistic points and work our way down:
1. It helps develop the next generation of workers.
The value of a good internship goes well beyond financial compensation—it complements what is learned in class by doing real work. A great intern program polishes new talent to be better suited when entering the workforce, making them more desirable candidates.
2. We learn a lot by teaching others.
Sometimes teaching is a great way to develop our own capabilities and better understand the things we do. Having the opportunity to spend a summer teaching fresh minds promotes new ways of thinking while reinforcing existing skills.
3. It’s a great way to recruit and secure talent.
There are certain kinds of people who never show up on the job market—we want those people. If we can help them find their way to us by providing a great internship experience, we’ve secured proven talent who fit our culture.
4. They get stuff done!
If your intern projects are made up of peasant work, you’re doing it wrong. Whether they are interns or permanent hires, we choose excellent people who do excellent work. That’s why the interns worked on important projects all summer long. They win because they get to work on real things that matter, and we win because we get to complete projects that have been waiting in line.
It was interesting to witness our interns’ transition from newbies to fully integrated parts of our development team. It’s important to have a solid recruiting strategy, a structured development plan, and trust in new talent.
Yes, it cost us extra time and money to go to career fairs, interview countless candidates, tie up developer time (thanks, B.Miller), and coordinate “lunch and learns.” But we don’t cut corners on anything else, why should the intern program be an exception? After all, these are diamonds we’re mining, and boy did we find some shiny ones.