Interns Make Better Entry-Level Hires: 5 Reasons To Bring Them On

Looking to fill an entry-level position? Your perfect entry-level hire might be right under your nose.

When created and managed effectively, internship programs are the perfect talent pipeline for filling your entry-level positions. In fact, bringing on current or previous interns as entry-level hires should be a no-brainer -- you've basically given them a 90-day trial period to prove their worth.

It's also hard to ignore the facts: According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the conversion rate for turning interns into full-time hires has currently hit an all-time high at 58.6 percent. Even more importantly, the retention rate of full-time hires who originated from an organization's own internship/co-op program was at 62.4 percent after five years, compared to just 48.1 percent of hires who came with no experience whatsoever.

Don't waste valuable time and money recruiting externally when you've got a crop of passionate, talented, and well-matched interns -- who are likely seniors or recent graduates -- hoping to land a full-time gig with you. Here are five reasons to bring them on:

1. You can play to their strengths. One of the most challenging parts of entry-level hiring is catering to the skills and interests of a relatively inexperienced member of the workforce. It generally takes some time to learn your entry-level worker's strengths and allow them to focus on work specifically matched to that.

But this shouldn't be an issue when hiring from your intern program. These candidates have been with you for somewhat of a trial period, which means you already know where they excel and can position them accordingly.

2. They require less training. Bringing on a new hire involves countless hours of onboarding and training, and it only increases when you factor "entry-level" into the mix. Bringing on your interns when an entry-level opening arises will allow you to save time and money when it comes to training. Your interns are likely already well-versed in your processes, rules, standards, and even required on-the-job tools and applications.

3. They've proven their worth. Not all interns turn out to be as talented as you'd hoped, but there are always a few who knock your socks off. A truly exceptional intern is worth hiring when the position arises. They've likely already left a big mark on your company by positively affecting your bottom line. Why hire someone who isn't a proven worker?

4. They're already in-tune with your company culture. Finding candidates who mesh perfectly with your company's one-of-a-kid culture is nothing short of challenging. But if you hired the right interns, they're already a great fit for your company culture and also well-adapted to it through their previous time spent with you. This will make them more comfortable, productive, and engaged as full-time entry-level employees.

5. They're there for you in a pinch. Do you need an entry-level hire on the fly? No problem, your recently graduated interns have got you covered. Because they're already a valued part of the team, they'll likely be able to come on as full-time employees much faster than it would take you to recruit and hire someone from outside of the company.

Don't waste time and money attempting to bring on entry-level candidates from outside your company. Let your internship program act as the perfect pipeline for drawing in talented future entry-level candidates.

Do you use your internship program for entry-level hiring?

Ashley Mosley is Community Engagement Manager of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Ashley and InternMatch on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.