When companies consider applicants for internships and jobs, one group that is largely disregarded is high school students. And it makes sense. What could these inexperienced, uneducated, and immature teens bring to the table that others can’t? Understandably, applicants who are recent college graduates and have experience in the work field would be the appropriate additions to your team. Then why do companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and a rapidly growing number of boutique tech firms offer training programs for high school students? Why do these companies invest their time and resources into them?
It’s important to not have tunnel vision when looking for candidates to work as interns in your company. Having a degree, should not necessarily be a requirement for applicants to meet. With the advent of the internet and its vast amount of resources, many people are able to gain all the skills that allow them to be a competent member of the workforce. It’s not a bad idea to factor in whether an applicant holds a degree; as a recruiter, you should be doing that. It is a bad idea to reject an applicant solely based on the fact that he or she does not hold a degree.
So where do high school students come into play? High school students are currently living in a unique time period. Having been brought up with the Internet, they are offered a vast amount of opportunities that allow them to compete in the workforce. High school students are creating new products, starting businesses, researching proposals, lobbying governments, protesting injustices, and much much more. Just look at the many entries that high school students submit in competitions, hackathons, and symposiums that showcase their talent.
High school interns are not the same as other interns. Primarily, high school interns bring with them new knowledge and perspectives of both technological and social trends. This knowledge is helpful from a business perspective because it allows companies to rethink product designs and marketing techniques to better tailor them to their target audience. Another key reason that high school interns are different from other interns, is that they are not looking for a permanent job. Instead, they aim towards growing their experiences and real-world knowledge, rather than garnering a paycheck. These interns will exploit their own talents as well as the opportunities that a company offers. The best use case scenario would be to allow high school interns to work in R&D which would allow for innovative solutions that incorporate their skills and a company’s technologies.
One of the leadership principles that we hold at Anant is Hire and Develop The Best. Hiring high school students to work for your company requires low investment, introduces new knowledge and skill sets, and yields innovative solutions. Although high school students will not replace traditional university interns, they are valuable additions to your team that will advance and grow your company.