By now, students who haven’t landed an internship for the summer are planning their forthcoming weeks at the beach—or playing Grand Theft Auto in their parents’ basements. Mom and Dad will likely remind them it’s never too early to start thinking about next summer. Despite the inevitable eye rolling, they’re right.
Job site InternMatch surveyed nearly 200 large companies and found that more than one-third start recruiting interns more than a year in advance. Starting the process this early helps them “outmaneuver startups, SMBs, and other smaller businesses for the best hires,” according to InternMatch report.
It may be hard to believe, but just look at this job at ConAgra (CAG):
— MBA Highway (@MBAHighway) May 30, 2013
And here at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ):
Jacob Fedosky, a 20-year-old Texas Tech University student, tweeted that he’s already set for 2014 at PricewaterhouseCoopers:
— Jacob Fedosky (@JacobFedosky) May 24, 2013
Fedosky says he got an offer for this summer’s internship last December. “Some kids that just graduated didn’t start looking [for jobs] until late their junior year, and they’re in a bad place now,” he says.
Why the rush? Frank Rodriguez, director of university and recruitment marketing at Johnson & Johnson, says, “It really is to ensure that we’re top of mind as they are considering careers.” Applications for the J&J Finance MBA Leadership Development Program will be accepted through February 2014, he says, but the company will evaluate résumés on a rolling basis—which means the positions could be filled before the application deadline.
ConAgra, which started recruiting in April for next summer, is now interviewing candidates. “It will be very beneficial to apply now,” says Tim Jones, the company’s vice president for talent management. About five years ago, ConAgra didn’t start the recruiting process until the fall, but it found that the best candidates had already taken internships elsewhere. Now the company tries to fill most positions during the fall and start orientation (sending basic materials and information about the company) during the winter for jobs that begin in late May.
What about the procrastinators? “We do some hiring in the spring, but it’s a very small percentage,” Jones says.