Best Practices


Utilizing Proper & Preferred Communication Channels

  • Face-to-face interactions are preferred over virtual engagement
  • Fully utilize Penn State systems like Nittany Lion Careers
  • Detailed and easy to use career pages and applications processes tend to increase an organization’s attractiveness
  • Students express a strong dislike of company-specific apps, text message alerts and/or following companies on social media
  • Email is king! Students prefer email over all other forms of communication

Managing Your Brand 

  • Participate in on-campus events that can highlight your brand and opportunities (Career Fairs, Student Organization Meetings, etc.)
  • Provide up-to-date, detailed information about your company on Nittany Lion Careers
  • Provide detailed and accurate job descriptions, this is typically how students form a first impression of your organization
  • Be aware of language choices – avoid buzzwords, acronyms and company-specific terminology
  • Send people who understand all of the positions available and who have knowledge of specific job requirements. Company recruiters are considered to be one of the most influential job search factors
  • Come to campus as a unified entity.  We understand that multiple business lines may recruit at Penn State but to the student body, you are still one organization.  As much as possible connect internally to present a united front and uniform messaging to students
  • Learn what students are saying about your company in the Smeal Internship Database
  • Stay true to your brand. It may be tempting to be trendy but students appreciate when recruiters are genuine and display an organization’s true culture
  • Focus on messaging.  Our students tell us that being told “Go to the website” and “We don’t hire your major/year” is a huge turn off, even if it is true at the time. A little messaging around why this information is shared can make all the difference!
  • Know your audience and highlight what is most important to them.  Smeal students ranked the following elements when considering an offer:
    1. Job Content/Impact/Project Value
    2. Salary/Compensation
    3. “Fit”
    4. Location
    5. Advancement
    6. Work-Life Balance
    7. Benefits/Perks
    8. Training
    9. Job Security
    10. Other

Transparency & Resources

  • Be candid about the realities of working at your organization. Be realistic yet positive about the challenges and rewards of working at your firm
  • Focus on the strengths of your organization rather than the weaknesses of your competition
  • Talk about conversion rates for internships to full-time opportunities if possible. The higher the conversion rate, the more comfortable students feel about taking an internship.
  • Provide as much guidance and/or resources as possible throughout the process. While not every company is able to offer housing or transportation assistance, the more assistance a company can provide to students in this area, the more positive the student transition and experience. Offering resources to incoming students about housing options, local realtors, and public transportation or parking options is very helpful.

Response Time & Accurate Follow-up

  • Respond to students within the time frame specified in the job description or during the interview
  • Provide detailed information explaining processes for required paperwork (including reimbursement for second interview expenses, background checks, etc.)
  • Inform students either way regarding the company’s hiring decisions
  • Follow-up a verbal offer with a written offer of employment

Supervision & Evaluations

  • Provide structured supervision for internship programs. It is expected that internships, especially those in which the student is earning credit, will include:
    • an orientation to the firm and the expectations of the intern
    • time allotted for any necessary training of the intern to learn new systems, processes or procedures
    • ongoing (at least biweekly) meetings with the supervisor to discuss progress
    • a mentor who is committed to and engaged in the process
  • Treat students like employees, not temporary help.  It is important for the students to feel as though they have added value to the organization in a meaningful way.
  • If applicable, complete the student evaluation form in a timely manner. If a student is taking an internship for credit, a grade will be assigned and submitted to the BA 395A Course Manager to be recorded on the student’s transcript based on this evaluation.

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