Attracting Top Intern Talent

Does your company make the list of the best companies to work for in New York City? Do you have cool perks that will attract top talent – both employees and interns — like opportunities for global travel and a free MacBook plus a $500 equipment allowance for every new hire? No?

According to Built in NYC, the companies attracting the best intern and employee talent are pushing their industries forward with game-changing ideas that rest on the notion of a better tomorrow – for everybody. Companies in New York, and major markets across the country, are one-upping themselves trying to attract the best talent – both employees and interns – with great work environments, visionary leadership and out-of-the-box benefits.

So how do you up your game and make sure other corporate suitors don’t put a ring on it before you do? Here are some tips, tricks and strategies from recognized thought leaders and HR pros that can help you find and keep the kind of talent that will grow your business.

Oh, THAT Wise Guy…

It’s generally accepted that Guy Kawasaki started the idea of spreading the word about why HR is important. He’s the American marketing specialist, author of Wise Guy, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist who helped market Apple’s Macintosh computer line in 1984. In a blog at, he stated that  the art of recruiting is the purest form of evangelism; you’re asking people to bet their livelihood on YOUR organization – as opposed to any other!

Kawasaki suggests that the only way to attract superlative talent and build a great team is to have enough self-confidence and the self-awareness to identify people who are better than you are. “A Players,” he says, “hire A+ players” – not their equals, or B players who have potential.

He also says that if your candidates don’t GET your product and LOVE it, all the education and work experience in the world isn’t going to matter. Your employees need to be your advocates, your evangelists and your first authentic line of defense against criticism from enemy camps.

So where are those potential new hires?

More Jobs, Fewer Seekers

In a recent SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) webcast, Aaron Schwartz, Senior Manager of the Employer Insights Team at Indeed, offered more ideas for attracting top talent. He started by acknowledging a changing landscape in the recruiting arena.

In 2008, after the Great Recession, he says there were six unemployed job seekers for every open job. Today, there are .08 job seekers for every job – less than one person! And while acquiring the right talent is key to helping a business grow, it’s an art, not a science. It’s not about sifting through a stack of resumes and tossing them into yes, no and maybe piles.

Resumes won’t tell you whether someone will mesh with your company culture or stay with your company once hired. Finding the best candidates, enticing them to work for you and ultimately keeping them happy and loyal can be accomplished a number of ways. Schwartz says it all boils down to two approaches: inbound and outbound.

Active/Outbound vs. Sourcing/Passive/inbound Recruiting

Active/inbound candidates come to you from a job posting – think job search engines like Indeed and LinkedIn and most importantly, referrals from current employees. They’re emotionally ready to switch companies, locations or careers, and they’re easier to find. They take less time to find and cost less per hire. With sourcing/passive/outbound candidates, you initiate contact. Outbound is more complex and labor intensive – especially if your ideal candidates have never heard of your company.  It takes time to find, educate, persuade and/or convince them to join your team.

According to Lou Adler, The Adler Group (a firm which helps companies turn “hiring into a systematic process”), the best-performing employees tend to come from the group of “highly referred” candidates. Adler says hiring top performers takes proactive networking, referrals, and internal promotions. And while job postings have their place, they should be deemphasized in favor of referral-based models.

Never Stop Recruiting

Clearly, your company is who you hire. Everything Talent Acquisition does, the employer brand that you hear a lot about today – it comes back to hiring the right people, says Schwartz. But it’s also about how you treat the people you hire.

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates said that the competition to hire the best talent will only get stiffer in the years ahead. “Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.”

And Guy Kawasaki says never assume that you’re done recruiting. “You should recruit every employee every day because when they go home at night, you might never see them again.” It’s a lesson he learned after weeks of wooing a candidate who accepted a job offer, but eventually called in sick and never came back. He’d accepted another position with a former client and had been wooed away!

In today’s labor market, it’s a great time to be a job seeker, and a less-than-stellar time to be looking for the best employee and intern talent. In order to find, woo, hire and retain top performers, companies have to be prepared to go the extra mile – or ten!!  You can’t sell on compensation and stock alone; you need to share your company vision of how you’ll change the world. Pull out all the stops and use whatever ammunition you have to wow top candidates, and then as Kawasaki says, “keep the lovin’ going!”

Tip-Top Accommodations for Your Talented Interns

Stand apart from the competition by providing your interns with top-tier accommodation at one of our three locations across New York City. We provide the amenities, activities and support so your interns can focus on their work. Please fill out our form on the For Employers for more information. 

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