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Are you still looking for the ideal candidate join your organization? The one that ticks all the boxes and starts making a difference from day one in your business? If you’re having trouble finding a candidate who ticks all the boxes, you’re probably using the wrong boxes.
Managers are often locked into the idea that the best recruit will have the LAW qualifications, which means they are looking for candidates with specific work experience and a college diploma in LAW field. But they may miss the opportunity to hire a loyal and highly productive team member they otherwise would never have considered, thus extending the time it takes to fill vacancies.
Employers who turn to unusual hiring and retention tactics, like micro-internships, are finding success. A micro-internship is a short-term, project-based work experience designed to provide candidates with exposure to a specific field or role.
Micro-internships offer benefits for both parties: companies can hire talent on a short-term and flexible basis, and candidates can gain valuable experience, build their CV and build relationships in the fields of their choice.
Let’s see how to use and benefit from a micro-internship program.
A smart way to expand your candidate pool
The problem with the traditional hiring model is that it assumes a steady and logical path from college to professional employment. Most students must declare a major field of study in their second year. This system works for colleges and universities that are staffing their departments to meet demand. However, the typical 19 or 20 year old has no idea what they want to do when they enter the professional world.
They finish their studies and then realize how difficult it can be to find a job. Many employers will receive applications from candidates who studied art history in college and now don’t qualify for an entry-level customer service position. These applications are likely filtered out by the automation tool used by the recruiting company.
In the same way, hiring managers frequently receive applications from candidates seeking a mid-career change. They can scan the resume of a construction worker who wants to get into sales, but lacks work experience and education, and decide to move on.
This attitude is unfortunate. Instead of missing out on a candidate who doesn’t have the qualifications listed for a position, you should consider offering them a micro-internship. These internships include a short, sometimes intense training. Additionally, they require the candidate to work on a specific project with stated measurable deliverables. And companies pay the candidate for the job.
Is a micro-internship like a paid consultant concert? Yes. It’s always a good idea to ask a potential consultant to do a small project before giving them a big contract. The short-term arrangement allows you to verify the quality of their work. And you have an idea of how you interact.
Candidate Suitability Assessment
When you plan to organize a micro-internship for a candidate, you can ask him to follow a psychometric assessment. By reviewing the assessment results, you can determine how suitable they are for a position.
If their assessments show a natural tendency to want to serve others, your candidate may be a great fit for a customer service position, even without formal credentials. Likewise, a person with great listening skills could become your next rainmaker after receiving formal training.
Your candidates may resist the idea of committing to your organization for a period of two to three weeks. After all, they might continue to look for another position during this time. This is why it is important to remunerate the people who participate in your micro-internship program. They will be more likely to do their best.
What micro-internships can do for you
Bringing a new person to your organization allows you to assess a person’s talents, work styles and fit, an aspect we measure on our TeamTrait platform. The micro-internship format also provides a conduit for new thinking and creativity, which can be especially critical if you’re trying to broaden your scope of work. The best part is that you don’t have to stop working and mentoring after two to three weeks. You have the option to extend the projects if the process goes well.
For the candidate whose professional experience and/or training have no direct link with the position, a micro-internship is a way for him to say: “Let me prove to you that I can do it”.
And if you decide to extend a formal job offer, you will be in a credible position with your new team member, as they will realize that you value them for their potential. In addition, remunerating your interns will ensure that you avoid labor law issues.
Micro-internships and promotion potential
Managers should make it clear to their direct reports that they can explore an internal micro-internship without risking their current position. Grow within the company is a positive point.
I have had great success in my business using micro-internships as a promotional tool.
In one case, we hired an excellent researcher who came to us with a college degree in communications. After a few years, this team member expressed an interest in computer work. They had already demonstrated some skill in this area by developing complex worksheets. We offered a short period of training, followed by a mission that lasted several weeks. The results were excellent and this employee is now a key member of our IT team. This strategy is similar to the “quiet rental” approach used by employers who want to retain and promote their best employees.
In your hiring journey, you may find many reasons to avoid hiring a candidate who is outside of your comfort zone. At the same time, the C-suite is filled with stories of underperforming artists who either got hired because they had the advantage of knowing the right person or went to a top school.
If you want to hire someone with a background that deviates from the norm, think about setting up a micro-internship, and give it a try! You might be pleasantly surprised at how motivated they are to learn new things and do their best for your organization.