Kevin Chou, cofounder and CEO of Kabam
By Kevin Chou
June 11, 2015

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How can you turn an internship into a full-time job?” is by Kevin Chou, co-founder and CEO of Kabam.

It’s that time of year again—interns have begun to flood the halls of Kabam in hopes of securing a job after graduation. According to Glassdoor, more than 27,000 internships are available this summer for college students to hone their professional skills.

At Kabam, we hire more than two-dozen interns every summer in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Beijing for positions in virtually every department. And there is no coffee fetching in our programs. We expect our interns to quickly fit into our fast-paced, high-performance culture. Most importantly, we make internships a part of our overall talent program and try to make full-time positions available for them after they graduate. In the past three years we have converted 67% of our eligible interns into full-time positions. Min Htet is a perfect example.

Min had just graduated from the University of Southern California when he interned at Kabam’s Studio Strategy group last summer. Min, a business major who created a video game his senior year, had a unique blend of analytical skills and passion for the gaming industry—exactly what we were looking for. We just weren’t sure if he would mesh with our senior team of Wall Street veterans. Needless to say, he exceeded expectations and was offered a full-time job. Here’s how Min was able to turn his internship into a full time gig:

Seek an internship in a field you’re passionate about
Interning at a company because it’s “hot” despite not being interested in the work itself may look good on a resume. But you’ll miss a great opportunity to see if the work you’re passionate about is truly a good fit.

Show confidence
Working with people years older than you may seem intimidating. But remember, you weren’t hired to do their job, only yours. Take the opportunity to learn from them – but rest assured the company is benefitting from your energy and fresh perspective more than you know.

Explore laterally
Avoid being just the “intern in X department.” Take the initiative to understand the company’s strategy, its customers, and competitors. Try to meet as many people outside your department as possible – everyone loves talking about themselves, and it’ll give you a great perspective into alternate career paths in the same industry.

In addition, I’d like to offer advice to companies hiring interns:

Make the internship count
Pay interns well and give them a robust experience. Provide learning programs. Make them feel a part of the team. What you get in return are the best candidates for full-time jobs. A strong intern program can be a great tool for recruiting talent.

Learn from your interns
Students are unburdened by legacy systems and hallowed mindsets. Their fresh perspectives and youthful insights can boost your business. Kabam requires each of its interns to present a business case study at the end of the summer. Some of these have become embedded elements to existing programs.

Respect your interns
You were a student once. Recall how you revered those leaders who made you feel welcomed. And how you reviled those who sent you out for coffee.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How can you turn an internship into a full-time job?

6 tips to get the most out of your internship by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.

3 ways to turn your internship into a full-time job by Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg.

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