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  • Calculating and Using an Intern-to-Full Time Conversion Rate

    Trends & Predictions
    Three university relations and recruiting professionals discuss how to calculate and use an intern to full-time conversion rate.

    TAGS: benchmarks, intern conversion rate

    Tracking, analyzing, and acting on key metrics is critical to the success of a recruiting operation. One of these key measures for assessing the effectiveness of your organization’s internship program is tracking its intern-to-full time conversion rate.  

    To calculate the conversion rate for your interns (or co-op students), determine the number of eligible interns and the number of offers that have been accepted by eligible interns.

    The critical element here is making sure to determine your eligible interns, and not include all of your interns. For these purposes, an eligible intern is one who is graduating and is pursuing career opportunities. Interns who are still in school are not considered eligible.

    Divide the number of acceptances by the number of eligible interns, and multiply by 100. This gives you your conversion rate.

    1. Number of eligible interns =

    2. Number of accepted offers =

    3. (Number of accepted offers) / (Number of eligible interns) =

    4. Multiply your answer to #3 by 100 = percent conversion rate

    Number of eligible interns = 50
    Number of accepted offers = 20
    20/50 = 0.4
    0.4 x 100 = 40% conversion rate

    Using Your Conversion Rate

    Your conversion rate can help you determine how effective your internship program is as a recruiting tool. As a rule of thumb, if you are using your internship program as a recruiting tool, your goal should be to convert at least 50 percent of your eligible interns to full-time hires. If your conversion rate falls below that, you may want to examine your program to determine how to improve that rate.

    You will want to look at other relevant metrics for your program to help you identify where problems may exist. For example, perhaps you are only making offers to half of your eligible interns, which, in turn, drives down your conversion rate. In such a case, you may need to look at why only half of your eligible interns are receiving offers.

    Additional formulas

    There are a host of metrics that can help you strengthen efforts, build on success, and demonstrate the value of your recruiting program. For a detailed list of formulas, including more-sophisticated takes on the interview, offer, acceptance metrics, e.g., application interview rate and applicant to hire rate, see the Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting, Chapter III.

    Current benchmarks for recruiting, internship/co-op programs

    Current benchmarks for recruiting programs are available through the 2022 Recruiting Benchmarks Report; benchmarks for internship/co-op programs are available through the 2023 Internship & Co-op Survey Report. If you or someone at your organization took part in the one or both of the surveys, you will find the report in MyNACE.