THE BLOG
05/20/2014 05:29 pm ET | Updated Jul 20, 2014

5 Ways to Source Summer Interns When You're Strapped for Cash

We're on the cusp of summer, and tons of young professionals are still on the prowl for the coveted summer internship. Typically these students turn to their universities, networking events, or career fairs in order to find the best program. While these are great strategies, first, students are out of time on those strategies, and second, these options may pose a potential problem for you: some are incredibly pricey and aren't feasible in your recruitment budget.

Ultimately, you may find yourself in a Catch-22: How can you locate those star summer interns -- 60 percent of which you may hire -- when you're strapped for cash and time? As young professionals begin to understand that outdated job hunting methods don't work like they used to, you need to be on the same wavelength in terms of candidate sourcing.

Dated recruitment strategies may not bring you valuable interns anymore. And, unfortunately, you can't let your wallet stand in your way. When you're on a budget, but still want to find great interns for your summer program, check out these five affordable tactics:

Use free job posting sites

You may have heard the phrase, "job boards are dead." Well, not according to many studies. Research indicates that job boards are still one of the top three ways to find great hires. You may just have to find niche job boards in order to target your search. Many of them are free to use, and some even have partnerships with clubs and universities to spread the word.

Go to hackathons

While hackathons may pertain to more tech-focused organizations like Microsoft, they are still a great place to meet potential interns. Essentially, hackathons are contests which give you the opportunity to see students and young professionals pitch, program, and present a certain idea or solution to a problem. Attending these hackathons helps you to meet successful young professionals at a low cost. In addition, you get to be first in line for the best students from all walks of life, putting you ahead of the competition.

Take advantage of social recruiting

Here's the deal: Summer internship candidates are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, GitHub, and other online resources to look for work. Why not go where the talent is? Social recruitment is as low cost at is gets. If you already have an idea in mind for the perfect intern, you can use keyword searches, targeted ads, customized hashtags, or utilize platform forums to spread the word about your internship for relatively cheap.

Hold virtual meetups

While career fairs are a great way to meet summer interns, registration fees can be pretty outrageous. When you're on a budget and strapped for time, but still want the benefits of a career fair, look into virtual meetups.

These meetups, like the ones on Google Hangouts, are a cheap alternative to the career fair. Essentially, they allow you to share information with potential intern candidates in a video-chat format. Young professionals from across the country can attend, which can't be said for regional career fairs. Plus, you can archive the video on your career site, giving anyone who couldn't attend the chance to learn more.

Utilize past interns

Your past interns know who would fit best within your company culture. When you use past interns in your recruitment strategy, be sure to give them all the information they need, including the job description and details on the application process. This will cut down on time and avoid and communication issues.

Although this method is completely free, you can still compensate past interns through inexpensive rewards, including gift cards, movie passes, or a virtual shout out on your social networks.

While finding great interns comes at a cost, you don't have to break the bank! Take advantage of these affordable recruitment strategies and find awesome interns in the process.

What do you think? What are some other ways to source summer interns when you're strapped for cash?

Ashley Mosley is Community Engagement Manager of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Ashley and InternMatch on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.