Everyday the RIC sees new employers posting their internship opportunities on our website, and we are thrilled. Many employers turn to us to help them address recruitment challenges and capacity building issues.
Employers seek the help of the RIC for various recruitment reasons. I wanted to talk about the recruitment challenges of our region that led to the creation of the Regional Internship Center in 2003.
The majority of companies that the RIC helps are small-to-medium sized companies, that is, companies that employ 50 or fewer employees. Actually, according to the US Census, the majority of companies in the southwestern PA region, and in our nation are small-to-medium sized companies.
Recruitment Process is Not Steady
The recruitment challenges and budgets of small-to-medium sized companies are different from those of larger companies. Small-to-medium sized companies tend to hire at a slower rate than that of larger companies. They also hire fewer people at any one time. For smaller companies, hiring needs may not be as steady as their larger counterparts. This makes hiring a qualified candidate at exactly the time the company needs someone often challenging. The Pennsylvania Economy League report, “Jobs of the Future,” notes of smaller companies, “their hiring needs tend not to be as predictable as large employers and do not necessarily coincide with the recruiting season of local schools.”
We help employers create effective internship programs within their companies that allow them to build a cohort of talent over the years. Employers are able to see the quality of work interns are capable of outputting in a learning environment, to see their ability to fit into their work culture, and by building relationships with interns who the very employers have trained, employers are able to know which interns would want to stay on with their company when that company is in a position to hire.
The recruitment budgets for small-to-medium sized companies tends to be much smaller than that of larger companies. It is harder for small-to-medium sized companies to compete for top talent since larger companies dedicate more money to recruit all across the nation and the world. The recruitment net is cast wider allowing larger companies to pick from the best talent, and since they hire in larger numbers they may be seen as more secure employment options to applicants even when salaries are comparable.
Moreover, a smaller recruitment budget often goes hand-in-hand with a smaller public relations and marketing budget–an important piece of the recruitment process. That means for some companies the problem isn’t just recruitment challenges, the problem can also be that people have never heard of that particular company at all.
The Regional Internship Center is a tool utilized by employers to help them cast their recruitment net wider in the region and to help spread the word about their companies throughout southwestern PA. How? The RIC travels throughout southwestern PA attending internship and job fairs. Many of these fairs are far away for smaller companies to attend, and often cost upwards of $100, 200 or event $300.
The RIC builds relationships with our employers so we know who you are and we know what kind of talent you are looking for and when we attend these fairs all across southwestern PA on the behalf of our companies, we talk to the thousands of students that might not have heard of these companies, but would be interested in applying for their internship opportunities.
We help our employers tap into the talent that they may not have otherwise had the chance to meet–the over 200,000 students that flood our region each year to obtain their college education.
* We have made over 6,000 internship matches between internship seekers and employers–many of those internships have turned into full-time jobs.
* We have conducted dozens of workshops to work with employers to think through the long-term recruitment challenges and needs of their companies.
* Our yearly Summer Interns Program has highlighted our region to over 4,000 interns, many not from our region to help our employers recruit the top talent.
* The number of new and returning visitors to our website and our blog seeking interns, internships and other resources continue to increase daily.
* Our sponsors and partners see points of entry to their websites from traffic from our website.