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Many organisations in Singapore are turning to intern hires to boost their recruitment strategies, and one of the biggest advantages is less time is spent acclimatising the new recruit to the companies practices and culture.

“The intern has already spent 10 weeks with Barclays, getting to know the business and integrating into the culture,” Cecilia Ruru, head of infrastructure campus recruitment at Barclays Asia, said. “Interns who return as graduates take much less time to settle in and get up to speed.”

Another major benefit, Rosalind Tan, head of HR at Lucasfilm Singapore, said is companies are able to access the interns and have the chance to “work with and observe for ability, attitude, aptitude and cultural fit”.

However, HR leaders warn there are challenges to look out for with intern hires.

“While internships are a great way to scout talent, companies must be aware that interns need to return to their studies before they are eligible for full time employment,” Tan said. “Therefore, this is a future investment in talent, but the benefits of a well-run internship programme can help feed the long-term graduate recruitment schemes.”

Maica Policarpio, senior manager of HR at Bosch Singapore, said there has to be constant engagement between the company and interns after they return to school.

“We invite our students@bosch members to networking sessions with fellow members and to informal lunches with management,” she said.

HR must also realise the importance of senior management buy in when crafting an internship hiring programme.

“Without the endorsement and backing of managers and colleagues at all levels, the investment value of even the most well-structured programme will fall flat,” Fiona Koh, head of talent acquisition for graduate recruitment at Deutsche Bank, said.

Challenges notwithstanding, HR leaders agree intern hires are a great complement to any organisation’s recruitment process.

“The internship can be used as an opportunity to test the skills and performance of the interns – to identify talent and secure the top performers for graduate roles the following year,” Ruru said.

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