Internships are becoming an increasingly important bridge between students' academic and work careers. Students are looking for internships, and employers, in turn, when they go to hire are looking for students who've had some sort of internship or work experience.
While there are many programs that match students with internship opportunities at large, established companies - including, of course, the traditional campus job fair - it can be a challenge for small companies, startups, and non-profits to find qualified interns. And in many cases, it can be difficult for students to find good internships, particularly if they're interested in entrepreneurial or non-profit opportunities or if they're unable to pay the fees that some internship matching services charge.
"The college recruiting experience is broken," says Andrew Maguire, whose experiences as a student led him to found InternMatch, a startup that, as the name suggests, matches prospective student interns with organizations. I had a chance to talk with Maguire last week, and his passion and knowledge of the problems and the opportunities in the space were immediately apparent.
Those problems are faced by college students, to be sure. But interest in - and even the need for - interns is growing among startups too, as evidenced perhaps by the number of posts on Quora, where both startups are asking a lot of questions about the who, what, when, where, and how of internships.
For InternMatch, the "where," so far, includes Washington, Oregon, and California - the three states where the company has launched its operations. Maguire says the startup does not want to expand nation-wide too quickly, as the point is to be able to offer both students and organizations a strong selection of internships and candidates.
The "how" involves registration for students and companies - the latter are charged $99, a fee that's refunded in full if a good match can't be made. The service is free for students. The "how," according to Maquire, also involves a lot of personal engagement, as InternMatch offers both matching services as well as a good dose of education about internships rules and best practices. "This isn't a tech problem," says Maguire, arguing that it's about surfacing the opportunities and the connections for students and organizations.