Agencies which screen internship applicants for companies are on the rise, according to The Economist, but is this a good thing?
With more people than ever searching for vital internships that could potentially lead to employment, agencies such as Inspiring Interns, based in London, have stepped in. Inspiring Interns assesses candidates with personality tests and guides them on interview technique. The company claims that almost two-thirds of the candidates it places eventually receive a job offer.
These agencies have proved controversial though; they have been criticised for promoting unpaid placements whilst raking in huge profits (Inspiring Interns grossed £1m last year) from the companies who pay them to find the best candidates.
Other agencies proudly assert they offer only paid placements for interns: Instant Impact Interns is one such organisation, though potential applicants must have achieved (or be predicted) at least a 2:1 from a “top university”.
The Economist rightly points out that “many firms, nervous about the future, are reluctant to hire permanent staff until they have tested them”. However, there is a distinct difference between a “test” and a full-time job, as student groups such as the University College Union attest to.
Whilst research suggests that 76% of students would take an unpaid internship, agencies such as Instant Impact Interns should be admired for ensuring that the candidates they find positions for are remunerated in some way for their hard work. If they help to place students and graduates in crucial (and paid) internships, shouldn’t they be praised?