Top 5 Most Inventive Internship Ideas

In this competitive talent atmosphere, finding the top talent can often start with an internship. And internships are not what they used to be. Social media, technology and a push for positive change have all affected the work force. In order to keep up with innovative internship ideas, companies have to get innovative themselves. You don't attract and retain good intern talent by teaching them how to pick up dry cleaning. Internships have a whole new life, and interns expect more. Here are a few examples of inventive internship ideas, from recruiting tools to the programs themselves.

Social to Hire as well as Recruit

Yes we all know, ignore social in recruiting at your own peril. But it's gone farther than that. Clever companies are embracing social for more than sourcing and recruiting. Recently, a college grad scored her dream job via an Instagram photo. ePrize hired her with a socially shared picture! The buzz that this new and inventive tactic caused got everyone excited for this young grad to join the team. This employer branding tool got her friends and family hyped and part of the celebration.

This is just one of a thousand ways you can use social to get people looking. You can use social through the whole internship program starting with sourcing, recruiting, hiring, updating your audience throughout the program and then finally letting them know what the intern will be doing at the end of the program.

Miller Lite's Internship Program

Partnering up with the latest box office hit, The Internship, Miller Lite created a brilliant campaign in search for their next intern team. While you can't send your intern team across the country in a man cave RV, drinking beer, like Miller Lite's program, you can create an internship program that is dedicated to fun, branding and culture.

Miller Lite did a fantastic job creating buzz and brand ambassadors to get people excited about their company. They utilized gamification, video and branding to continue building their culture. When interns can learn, have fun and experience new things, that's what makes a successful internship program. It is summer after all, have some fun.


Many companies are now using gamification for well...everything, but specifically for internship programs. Making internships fun makes them extremely attractive, and making them extremely attractive means making them competitive. When you have a competitive internship program, you are more likely to attract a better pool of talent that could ultimately turn into full time work.

Recently, an ad agency, Mortierbrigade, found a creative way to get their interns engaged. They actually put their interns through a tough live-gaming experience. Mortierbrigade placed the group of internship hopefuls on the ground level of a rigged house, and when the candidates (players) do something that appeases or impresses management, they are then allowed to move to the next level. Again, this one might not be applicable to every business that does not have a booby trapped house at their disposal, but the whole idea is to think outside of the box and create an innovative program.

Internships as Outreach

A comprehensive study by the Pew Research Center in 2010 found that 21% of Millennials place a higher priority on helping people in need over 15% wanting a high-paying career. This new generation of workers are less money hungry and more cause hungry, and this is translating to their internship programs.

Long story short, Denise Korn of Korn Designs found a way to us the design industry as a resource for mentoring to urban youth. She created Youth Design. “Youth Design offers high school students in at-risk areas the opportunities to have paid summer jobs at firms involved in the design sector while pairing the students with senior-level designers as mentors.”  

Community outreach is so very important to morale, culture and brand. Korn created a program that both helped her community and her business. That's an internship program!

Video Interviewing

This is by far our favorite way to attract interns. Tech is native to this group. When you offer them tech tools like video interviewing, you're letting them know that you too embrace technology. You also get to cultivate your company culture by asking questions and creating interviews that are targeted to those would make a good fit. Additionally, the flexibility that video interviewing lends is what they are looking for. This generation cherishes their time above all. When you offer flexible, time-saving tools, it is noted and appreciated.

photo credit: “Caveman Chuck” Coker via photopin cc

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