Some organizations love PPOs (Pre-Placement Offers) and some find it limiting. Those who like it believe, they get to see candidates in action during the internship period and at the same time, the candidates get to experience the organization. So, there is a long period of time to evaluate each other and decide if the match is right. Some other organizations think differently; they believe, the performance during the internship period does not necessarily reflect the person’s interests and choice of future career path. They do not like the declines in PPOs and do not want to face the situation of finding a replacement candidate. Such organizations have scrapped their PPO policy. What’s your take?
PPOs work well if we choose the interns right!
Often, interns are chosen by relatively junior executives in the organization; the selection process is carried out with relatively lesser rigour than that in the campus selection. This is because of the fact that internship doesn’t figure a place in the talent strategy like campus hiring does. Hiring interns gets passed off to the lowest denominator in the hierarchy. There starts the issue of attracting the right talent, positioning the opportunity in the right way and assessing the right fit for the role.
This issue needs to be addressed at its root by getting the senior leadership to determine if they want to invest organizational energies in this long shot. Interns are normally a year away from starting on a job. Needless to mention that a year is a long period of time during which many things can change. Candidates change their minds about their future career choices; market opportunities change; so does the needs of an organization. We live in a dynamic environment; still, organizations do plan for the future. Hence, the uncertainties in the external environment cannot be the reason to keep internships off the talent strategy. It boils down to the judgment of senior leaders if they wish to add this variable in their planning.
If they do, cost of hiring an intern goes up but it builds employer brand in campuses and establishes a strong talent supply line for the organization. PPOs start making sense if we choose the interns right and set their expectations right during the process.
Continue the engagement with the interns till their on-boarding!
It is commonsense to say that the organization has to engage with the candidate all through the process, but it is not easy. It calls for efforts to plan the program and execute the same. Right from the time a person is selected as an intern, it is important that the organization is able to keep up the excitement appropriately and show a realistic picture about the role and the company. During the internship, it is important to assess periodically, offer feedback and make course-corrections. At the end of internship, there should be an assessment if a PPO is worth. This assessment has to be mutual and happen over a few occasions during the internship. The organization decides if the intern can be given an offer earlier than the other employers visit the campus. In the same way, the intern decides if she sees the organization as her future employer. One has to carry out the process over a period of 2 weeks or so to ensure objectivity and rationale in the decision.
Some organizations keep the engagement active during the time period between the internship and the actual start date of the job. This creates many opportunities for the candidate as well as the employer to grow their engagement. Depending upon the policy of campuses towards PPOs, the candidate can decide if she wants to participate in the recruitment process of any other employer. Just in case, the candidate has a change of mind about the PPO, the organization is in a better position to know about it and act accordingly. PPOs make sense if the interns are engaged well during the internship and the year that separates them from starting on the job.
PPOs strengthen your Employer brand!
Our speed of doing business has increased tremendously; many of our tasks happen instantaneously. However, there are a few things such as trust which are to be built brick by brick arduously. Employer brand is one such. When an organization is clear about its way of life and its commitment to the longer horizon, it must start building its brand sooner than later. Engaging with the community which provides talent is one of the first stops that needs to be visited often and engaged with. PPO is one of those critical building blocks by which the employer brand enjoys a special position in the campus.
It is not a rocket science to see the bright side of PPOs. The plan needs rigorous execution right from the time of recognizing internship as a strategic lever in talent management.