5 Tips for Recruiting Tech Interns

According to Indeed Research, 86% of hiring managers and recruiters find it challenging to source and hire technical talent.

Yep, it’s difficult to seek out top tech talent – and that goes for interns too.

How come so many companies are looking to offer tech internships? There are a whole lotta reasons, here are just a few:

Your organization and your teams can benefit: smart interns can help strengthen your company culture, boost productivity by filling a gap in workflows, give your teams a sense of responsibility and meaning, reduce frustration and pressure by redistributing workloads, etc.

You can save money: depending on your needs, an internship might be the cost-effective way to lead your projects to success.

You can start building up your talent pipeline: young tech talent is in high demand, 72% of students majoring in computer science have a full-time job less than six months after graduating. So, it makes sense to get in early and start building your tech talent pipeline. Skilled interns coming to the end of their degree might just turn into full-time employees (over 45% of them do!). Those who still have studying to do will remember your company and might be interested in a position once they’ve graduated.

Basically, it’s a good idea to offer tech internships – but it’s not easy to find the right tech interns for your company. Here are our tips to help you out:

Tip 1: turn to your network

Make it known that you’re on the look out for talented tech interns. Who knows? Colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends, family (or anyone else in your network!) might be looking for or know of someone looking for an internship.

Word of mouth is a powerful thing.

That being said, make sure to tell former interns too. They may have moved on to new things or be back at school themselves, but they could know of a fellow student that’s open to an internship opportunity. Your former interns can become your best ambassadors, make sure you look after them.

Warning: one bad internship and you might end up on the “naughty list” in the eyes of a whole class or a whole school! Be nice.

“I really enjoyed my internship with CodinGame. In fact, I enjoyed it that much that I’m always talking about it to my new colleagues and to my friends. Whether they’re students or not, everybody’s interested in CodinGame and it’s amazing how many people already know of the company! I’ve grown so much thanks to the CodinGame team, both technically and personally. I would recommend an internship at CodinGame to anybody who loves code and is looking for a fun and positive team.” – Dimitri Sergeant, former CodinGame intern

Dimitri was an intern at CodinGame for four months. He’s now moved on to new things. He’s in Sweden studying computer science and video games but sent us this photo!

It’s also a good idea to head straight to the source: schools. Build up your relationships with schools looking to place interns. Even better, get networking at student-led occasions, take part in school events, attend a campus hackathon, etc.

Tip 2: give your employer brand a polish

Your employer brand is your story, your image, your identity – as an employer. It’s everything that influences how past, present or future recruits feel about your company as a place to work. Although you don’t completely control your Employer Brand, you can attempt to manage and shape it into a real positive competitive advantage. It’s important to keep in mind who you’re talking to, who you’re trying to attract.

If you’re trying to attract interns, then that should shine through in your Employer Branding. How can you make yourself attractive to interns? What would convince them that your company is a wonderful place to work (well, to intern)?

Shine light on your company culture, your work ethic and every day organization. Also, make sure to tend to your online presence. Polish the career section of your website, pay attention to what users are saying on Glassdoor and hit social media with a passion.

With 94% of 18 to 24-year-olds in the US using YouTube, 78% using Snapchat, 71% using Instagram, and 45% using Twitter, social media plays an important part in the message you’re sending to potential interns. Kristina Hunt, director of recruitment marketing, explains what students want to see from companies on social media:

“Students want authenticity, responsiveness, and availability, [they want] to see who you really are and what you stand for. If students connect with you, they want you to respond.”

Tip 3: highlight your “WIIFM”

Put yourself in a potential intern’s shoes and figure out your “WIIFM”.

My what?

Your “What’s In It For Me”, or your Employer Value Proposition (EVP), is everything you can offer to someone joining your company. Interns want to know what you can give them in exchange for their skills, time and dedication. So, adapt the way you present your internship offer and highlight what a potential intern could get from spending some time in your company.

There are lots of things that you could underline to tempt interns. For example, 47.3% of interns are interested in access to executives and mentorship, 43.6% are interested in flexible hours – is that something your company offers and that you could showcase? Interns also want to know what they’re going to learn during their internship. What will they take away for future employability? Give them information about what kind of project they’re going to be working on – and make that project significant and meaningful.

“As an intern at CodinGame, working on an important feature with a direct impact for the company’s clients was both exciting and terrifying. Having that kind of responsibility forces you to think so much more carefully and thoroughly about what you’re doing – which, by the way, teaches you so much and helps you to progress that much faster. It was a real motivation to see that my superiors trusted me to take part in something so important, which made me want to give it my all so as not to disappoint them.” – Jean-Sébastien Herbaux, former CodinGame intern

Jean-Sébastien is now studying in Holland and sent us this photo

Tip 4: don’t limit your talent pool

Some companies tend to only accept interns from a certain school or a certain major. Don’t limit yourself, keep an open mind towards intern applications. Maybe they’re partially self-taught, maybe they study at a low-profile school – and maybe they’re simply fantechtastic. You won’t know unless you give them a chance to enter your recruitment process.

Tip 5: streamline your interview process

As important as they are, internships are, essentially, short-term positions. It makes no business sense to waste time and money during your intern interview process.

One way to streamline your interview process and save precious time is to invite potential interns to take a technical test. Depending on the results of their test, you can then decide to decline their application or meet them for a face to face interview. At CodinGame, we practice what we preach. All our awesome interns have been through this process – they completed (and passed!) a technical test before meeting our VP Engineering in an interview (at our HQ or by videoconference).

On a last note, don’t hang around! On average, employers start recruiting interns 8 months in advance. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and recruit you next incredible intern!


There’s a better way to test coding skills.

Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie is Content Manager at CodinGame. When she's not busy creating quality #techrecruitment content, chances are she’s watching Friends or snuggling her little grey cat, Moon.