When to Post Internships
When Should Employers Post Internship Openings?
The rule of thumb regarding how far in advance an employer should post an internship is 7 to 10 weeks prior to the intern's expected start date.
When it comes to posting internships, a common employer error is to post openings before they've given enough thought to the internship program itself. In fact, in the 12 steps to starting an internship program, posting the position on Internships.com isn't until step 10.
Posting the internship position too far ahead of time creates a host of issues: On one hand, if you haven't moved sequentially through the steps to starting an internship program, you won't know what types of tasks you'll want to assign to interns. If you don't know what the internship position entails, how can you be sure you're hiring the best intern for the job?
Another issue that arises when you post an internship to early is that you end up caught in a time crunch prior to the intern's start date: I've seen employers with interns due to report for duty in one week, and they're still struggling to put together the program.
Essentially, employers should develop their internship programs first; you should begin the hiring process (steps 10-12) 7 to 10 weeks before an intern's start date.
And what exactly will fill that final 7-to-10-week process? Once you post the internship, you'll want to wait a week or two for resumes to roll in (so you have a larger selection). Avoid evaluating candidates too early, as you want to give yourself a good idea of what types of candidates you have to choose from.
You'll then spend time sifting through submissions, scheduling and conducting interviews and second interviews, soliciting input from employees who will supervise or work closely with interns, deliberating, and making your final decisions…which hopefully won't be the Friday before an intern is scheduled to start work!