people in bubbleInternMatch, an online company offering a database of internships to help match students with companies, just released the findings from its “The State of the Internship” report. The report, which focuses on what students really care about, revealed that students are now working at internships much earlier in their academic careers than employers realize. A little over 17 percent of students reported completing their first internship in high school, while an additional 16.5 percent and 24.9 percent said they completed their first internship during their freshman and sophomore years, respectively.

“In 2013, technology has changed student job and internship tactics in some expected ways and some very unexpected ways,” Nathan Parcells, chief marketing officer at InternMatch, said. “The goal of this report is to help employers get in front of these changes so they can hire the best students for their company and culture.”

The report showed trends of what students do and don’t care about. Key findings include:

  •  Do care about experience: 58.9 percent of students said gaining experience and building a portfolio is the most important part of an internship experience
  • Don’t care about money: Just 8.8 percent of those polled said financial compensation is the least important part of an internship
  • Do care about office pets: Interesting, 24.3 percent of student said a company that has pets in the office would dramatically increase their likelihood of applying
  • Don’t care about social media use at work: Not being allowed to use personal social media accounts while on the job does not impact an intern candidate’s willingness to apply (82.1%)
  • Do care about flexibility: More than half (55%) of students reported being allowed to work from a coffee shop just one day a week dramatically increases their chances of applying
  • Don’t care about privacy: Only 11.9 percent of students said knowing that an employer looked at their pictures on Facebook would cause them to reconsider an offer

“Finding great interns does not mean having to offer ridiculously high salaries,” Parcells said. “The ‘State of the Internship’ report reveals that by focusing on culture, professional experience, and online recruiting tactics, even smaller companies can start hiring the best students.”

Download the full report here.

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