The Best Intern Programs, According to Interns

Your online reputation can make or break your business. Clients and customers come to mind, but some organizations forget their employees are their first and most important advocates. Even your interns matter! As the first generation of internet natives, your millennial interns are fluent and comfortable using social media and other user-generated platforms. What these say about your business can impact both your revenue and talent acquisition goals.

According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2017 report, 67% of interning college students receive job offers and 76.4% accept. So what makes interns want to return to certain companies? And just what do they share online?


1. Forget the coffee. Interns want to do real work.

Interns want to do meaningful work that’s relevant to their development. Facebook’s VP of Engineering Vladimir Fedorov says, “What sets us apart is the fact that you can have real impact. … At Facebook, you’re going to get to do real work.”


2. Professional development is key.

WayUp, a career website, asked current interns to submit nominations for which companies have the best intern programs. Close to 2,500 responded. “The top 10 programs stood out as being the ones that focused the most on ensuring their interns learned as much as possible,” says WayUp CEO Liz Wessel.


3. Perks matter.

“In addition to providing free housing, some teams provide free lunches/dinners to employees. Also, you’re eligible for all the other employee benefits, like health insurance, fitness center membership, product discounts, etc.,” reports a former Apple software engineering intern.


4. Pay is important.

All the highest-rated companies pay their interns. Although not every organization can afford them, paid internships are on the rise. One NACE study reports that paid interns are more valuable because they are more likely to be given professional tasks instead of clerical work.


5. Millennials love to travel.

Imagine that an MIT student gets offered two internships. The first one is right at home in Cambridge, and the second is an all-expenses-paid opportunity in Silicon Valley. Which one do you think she’ll choose? For example, Texas Instruments offers a “the traveling internship,” in which participants rotate through three different U.S. cities during the program.


6. Look beyond your bottom line.

Young people are attracted to brands and companies that stand for something bigger than revenue. Many are willing to forgo higher salaries if it means finding a deeper sense of fulfillment in their work. In a recent interview for Forbes, Rob Candelino, VP and U.S. general manager for Unilever, says, “More than 80% of millennials rank ‘making the world a better place’ as a priority in their life, and they’re gravitating toward brands that live this vision.”