How do Co-Ops/Interns Help Small Businesses Maintain a Competitive Advantage?

If you’ve been involved in Talent Management in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed a trend: great talent is hard to come by, and when you find it, you’re going to pay for it. Companies big and small are on the hunt for great talent and more than ever, they are plucking talented individuals earlier and earlier. What are ways for any business to maintain a competitive advantage? One way is to have a strong Co-Op/Intern program.

The goal of a Co-Op/Intern program is to grow individuals both personally and professionally in preparation for a future career (hopefully at your company). This is particularly important for small businesses as they may not have the name recognition that larger businesses have. If you’ve represented a small business at a career fair, you’ll notice that students will line up for a chance at a position at a large company. More often than not, small businesses only get a trickle of students, most of which ask “What do you do?”

Interns can create a competitive advantage for businesses

NuWaves utilizes career fairs, online posts, and active recruitment to find great talent.

So why do we care? Because getting a talented individual into your company early gives you a unique opportunity and helps you to maintain a competitive advantage. First, you get a trial run for a fixed time period to see if the employee will be a good fit for your organization long-term. Even if they don’t work out as a long-term fit, they gain valuable experience and you have another chance in the next round to find the perfect hire. Second, you have the opportunity to imbed someone into your culture, giving you a great chance at having a valuable employee a few years down the line. When you’re competing with the big guys for new grads, having a great co-op experience with a small business can give you a leg-up.

A great Co-Op program doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Be up-front with your candidates on what you’re looking for and interview them like you’d interview full-time employees. Bring them to your facility to show them what you do and how you do it. Give them the opportunity to learn and grow with your organization and explain why working for a small business (specifically yours) is so great. Then, when they decide to come work with you, do what you said you would do and give them a great experience. Contact us to see when we will be at a job fair near you!

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